How to Plan Your Successful Plant-Based Whole30
We want you to commit to the Plant-Based Whole30 now, but that doesn’t mean starting right this minute. First, you should take some time to do some planning for the month.
Don’t skip the planning process—habit research shows that when people get excited and jump from contemplation straight to action (skipping right over the “preparation” phase) they’re less likely to see the change through. As you’ll hear over and over again, when it comes to the Whole30, planning and preparation are key.
You may need just a day or two to prepare, or you may need a week or two to get your house (and your head) around the changes you’re about to introduce. There is no one perfect timeline—you’ll have to decide what works best for you.
Learn The Program
Before you start planning, get familiar with the Plant-Based Whole30 program. Read the full program rules and watch the inaugural webinar hosted by Whole30 CEO Melissa Urban and registered dietitian Stephanie Greunke, and presented by Daily Harvest.
Choose Your Start Date
Once you’re familiar with the program, commit to start date. Here are some general guidelines for choosing a the right Day One for you:
- Start as soon as you possibly can, given the amount of preparation time you need.
- If you’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, an international trip to an unfamiliar location, or a wedding (especially your own!) in your imminent future, consider starting your Plant-Based Whole30 after those events. Navigating the Whole30 for the first time under those conditions may prove extremely difficult, and we don’t want you to begin your program stressed out.
- If you’ve got an important athletic event or an A-level race in the coming month, consider starting the program after your event is over, as your performance may suffer during the first few weeks of the program. This is especially true if a plant-based lifestyle is new to you.
- If you’ve got a family dinner, a business lunch, or a bridal shower in your imminent future, consider it an opportunity to take your Plant-Based Whole30 skills out on the town! You’ll have to deal with lots of new situations during your program, so write these events into your plan for the month, but don’t let them push your Whole30 off.
Subscribe to Plant-Based Whole30 Email
Join the Plant-Based Whole30 email list, and we’ll send you the Plant-Based Whole30 Prep Pack right away. It contains an exclusive printable PDF of the complete Plant-Based Whole30 Program, Plant-Based Meal Planning Template, Plant-Based Shopping List, and 3 Plant-Based Whole30 recipes you can’t find anywhere else.
Our email program is an important way for us to support your Whole30 success, and we take it very seriously. We’ll never give your email address away, and we’ll never spam you.
If you’re already a Plant-Based email subscriber, congrats! You’re already one step ahead.
Once you’ve decided when you’re going to start… tell someone! Anyone! Everyone! Check out our downloadable social media graphics and use them to share your Whole30 intentions with the world.
Follow @pbwhole30 on Instagram
You’ll want to connect with our Plant-Based Whole30 community for virtual encouragement and support. Follow @pbwhole30 on Instagram to connect with other members of the Whole30 community, register on our free Plant-Based Whole30 forum page, and drop us a comment or a DM to say, “I’m on board.” We want to welcome you to the community!
A poll of our Whole30 community revealed that 80% of people who tackle our program do so alone, without a Whole30 buddy or group. But habit change research tells us that taking on a commitment as big as the Plant-Based Whole30 requires accountability and community support. So, we’ve created ways for you to get the support you need, even if you can’t convince anyone to tackle the program with you.
Whole30 Certified Coaching
If you need personalized accountability and coaching, hire one of our Plant-Based Certified Whole30 Coaches. These individuals are Whole30 experts who can provide you with meal planning support, encouragement, group events, personalized resources and more. Many Coaches provide one-on-one and group coaching services, both remotely and in local settings, and all are certified in our Plant-Based Whole30 program.
Join The Whole30 Community
We often say that the Whole30 community is the friendliest, most supportive community on the internet, and our social media accounts prove it. Follow Plant-Based Whole30 on Instagram for daily recipes, resources, and support.
Prepare Your House
It’s time to get your house Whole30-ready. Don’t skip this step! Remember, planning and preparation is everything when it comes to making a dramatic lifestyle change like the Plant-Based Whole30.
Order the Whole30 Books
The official book of the Whole30 program is aptly titled The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. While this version of the book is for omnivores, it may still be helpful for our Plant-Based Whole30’ers. It walks you through the program start to finish; teaches you how to prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally; and teaches you how to roast, saute, and steam, every veggie under the sun.While the “Vegans and Vegetarians” section of that book has been preempted by this new comprehensive Plant-Based Whole30 program, you may still find the tips and tricks in the first half of the book helpful.
You’ll also need guidance to transition your Whole30 experiment into the long-term, healthy diet that’s right for you. Food Freedom Forever is Melissa Urban’s 3-part plan for continuing a healthy relationship with food in your life after the Plant-Based Whole30. It’s a must-read if you’re hoping to take what you’ve learned from your Whole30 elimination and reintroduction and turn it into a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.(Note, the Vegan Reset in that book has also been replaced with this new comprehensive Plant-Based Whole30 program.)
First, get the stuff you won’t be eating out of the house. Having tempting food-with-no-brakes just sitting around is a recipe for late-night stress eating, so let’s put some distance between you and those Pringles, shall we? Time to clean out the pantry—toss the stuff you won’t be eating, give it to a neighbor, leave it in the office breakroom, or donate it to a local food bank.
Create a “No Fly Zone”
If you’re the only one at home doing the Whole30, chances are your family isn’t going to take kindly to you giving away their favorite snacks and desserts. Dedicate one drawer in your fridge and an out-of-the-way cabinet for these off-plan items, so you don’t have to reach around the Oreos every time you need a can of coconut milk.
Plan Some Meals
Meal planning is an absolute must for saving time, money, and “What’s for dinner, again?” stress. Luckily, we’ve made this SO EASY for you by partnering with Real Plans, the official Whole30 meal planning service with more than 500 delicious, compatible recipes.
Fully automated right down to the shopping list, Real Plans lets you customize your Whole30 meals to your family size, meal prep schedule, and Whole30 start date and duration, and leaves out recipes with ingredients you don’t like or are allergic to. It was designed to take all the stress out of meal planning forever.
Meals can also be simple, with no recipe required—just take healthy ingredients and combine them! Breakfast can be scrambled tofu, a side of fresh salsa, and a half an avocado. Lunch can be a rainbow veggie bowl with black beans, crisp lettuce, and Buffalo Vinaigrette. Dinner can be roasted spaghetti squash with a lentil-rich tomato-basil sauce topped with nutritional yeast. Feel free to keep it simple!
Time to stock up on Plant-Based Whole30 foods! Use your meal plan to help you create a shopping list, and head to your local grocery store, health food store, farmers market, or co-op.
Look for protein sources like tofu, tempeh, edamame, and dried or canned beans and lentils first. Next, load up on vegetables and fruit—anything but corn is fair game in the produce section. Although many produce items are available year-round, shop seasonally for the best price and taste.
Next up—healthy fats, like extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, olives, nuts, and seeds. Finally, stock your pantry with the essentials—and don’t forget to check Amazon or Thrive Market for not-necessary-but-nice-to-have items you may not be able to find locally (like coconut aminos).
Order the Plant-Based Whole30 Edit from Daily Harvest
Want a little help with Plant-Based meals on busy days? Looking to add ease, variety, and effortless nutrition to your Plant-Based Whole30 meals? We’ve teamed up with Daily Harvest to offer the Plant-Based Whole30 Edit to our Plant-Based community. The Edit includes 14 chef-crafted bowls, bakes, soups, and smoothies made from delicious, sustainably-sourced fruits and vegetables.
With the Plant-Based Whole30 Edit in your arsenal you’ll have a well-rounded stash of options in the freezer ready to pull out, heat, and eat anytime you need a little ease during your 30 days.
With creative ingredients—Gigante beans, black garlic, moringa—and delicious flavor profiles—lemony, savory, fresh, comforting—you’ll have more variety in your Plant-Based Whole30 and spend less time shopping, chopping, and prepping. Plant-Based Whole30’ers get $30 off their first Daily Harvest. Click here to learn more about the Plant-Based Whole30 Edit from Daily Harvest.
Plan for Success
Unless you plan on living like a hermit for the next 30 days, you will likely face at least some challenges during your Plant-Based Whole30,and according to habit research, the best way to navigate obstacles and stressful events is to have a plan.
Think about the next 30 days and anticipate your obstacles. Think big–the more potential scenarios you can come up with, the better prepared you’ll be to handle them.Then, make a plan for what you’ll do when you face them.Psychologists recommend using If/Then statement when crafting these kinds of plans, so follow this template to map out your best Whole30 success strategies.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare Some More
First, write down every potential stressful, difficult, or complicated situation you may encounter during your Plant-Based Whole30. These may include business lunches, family dinners, travel plans, a long day at work, traffic jams, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, or office gatherings.
Next, create an If/Then plan for each potentially difficult situation:“IF this happens, THEN I’ll do this.” Here are a few examples, but we give you a lot more starting on page 27 of The Whole30.
Business lunch: IF my co-workers give me a hard time about not ordering a drink, THEN I’ll say, “I’m doing this self experiment right now to see if I can improve my allergies so it’s mineral water with lime for me tonight.”
Travel day: IF I get to the airport and my flight is delayed, THEN I’ll snack on the apple, carrot sticks, and small packet of almond butter I brought in my carry-on.
Last-minute meals: If I don’t have time to grocery shop, then I’ll heat up some Dozen Cousins black beans, add some mixed frozen veggies from the freezer, and mix in a compatible dressing or sauce for flavor.
Keep this list handy, and add to it as additional situations come up. Having a plan means you’re far more likely to stick to your commitment!
Toss that Scale
We take this rule very seriously, and you should too. There’s no faster way to sabotage your Plant-Based Whole30 than to subject yourself to weekly (or daily!) weigh-ins, but many participants find this rule the hardest of them all to follow. If you’ve been a slave to that $20 hunk of plastic, it’s time to set yourself free … at least for the next 30 days. Why are we so dead-set against tracking your “progress” based on body weight?
Ditch the Scale
Scale weight fluctuates wildly. Over the course of a day (or a few hours!) your weight can fluctuate by as many as five pounds—sometimes more—and that fluctuation isn’t at all representative of body fat gained or lost. Weighing yourself daily tells you nothing about your big-picture trend, and only serves to reinforce the next three points.
Scale weight says nothing of health. Is gaining or losing five pounds moving you in the direction of better health? It’s impossible to say, because that number tells you very little about what’s going on with your relationship with food, hormones, digestive system, or inflammatory status. And those are the factors that impact your health far more directly than body weight.
The scale blinds you to real results. By focusing so much of your attention on that number in the scale, you effectively miss out on observing the other, more significant, results of your efforts. Those results (improved sleep, energy, mood, cravings, athletic performance, recovery, or medical symptoms) could be motivating you to continue with your new eating habits—but until you stop obsessing about gaining or losing half a pound, you’ll never be able to see the health progress you’ve actually been making.
The scale maintains control of your self-esteem. It’s psychologically unhealthy to allow a number to influence your sense of worth, value, or self-confidence. And yet, that’s exactly what happens when your daily weigh-in determines whether you have a good day or bad day, and whether or not you feel good about yourself. If this is your scenario, consider ditching your scale permanently, because you deserve better.
You’ve read through how to plan and prepare for your Plant-Based Whole30… so now what? Scroll back through this page and click through some of the resources we’ve encouraged you to peek at (especially our Prep Pack!), or browse the rest of the site to read foundational articles or plan some recipes.