Meet Rachel and Anna of Teach. Eat. Repeat. I’ve been following their Whole30 adventures and just had to share the healthy goodness with you! Not only have these two ladies made huge healthy changes themselves, but they’re also helping others to do the same, all while lesson planning, wedding planning, and meal planning in the hustle and bustle of NYC. Read on for their total Whole30 run-down and healthy onion ring recipe below!
So, what exactly is this Whole30 and why should we all know about it?? Whole30 is a program that was founded by Whole9 creators, husband and wife team Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. They published an awesome book called It Starts With Food that describes the tenants of the program and how food can literally change your life in one month or less. 99% of their resources are available for free on their website because they want you to take the program and share it with everyone you’ve ever met. We started Teach. Eat. Repeat. to spread the message, the “love and lettuce” as we call it, because of what a difference it’s made in our own lives.
So, what are the Whole30 rules? You can find the official rules here or our own interpretation below (they’re most simply, though regrettably, expressed in a series of “nos,” but don’t fret because there are a whole lotta yes’s to come!)
1. No added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. This includes maple syrup, honey, agave, splenda, coconut sugar, etc. Read your labels and say bye bye sweet tooth.
2. No grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and nasties like maltodextrin.
3. No legumes/soy (sauce, lecithin, peanuts, lentils). They make exceptions for green beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas, because you consume more “pod” than “bean,” and the green stuff out weighs the lugumey-ness. You can read the full “Legume Manifesto” as to why.
4. No dairy. The only exception to this is clarified butter or ghee.
5. No carrageenan, MSG or sulfites.
6. No alcohol, not even for cooking. We know, we know.
7. No “sex with your pants on” aka, no making versions of your favorite “cheat foods,” with compliant ingredients (no banana ice cream, date brownies, coconut flour pancakes, eating almond butter straight out of the jar…). If it’s a food or substance that you can’t control yourself around, don’t eat it. 30 days is enough time to let go of bad habits, overhaul trigger foods, and change. your. life.
8. No stepping on the scale or taking body measurements for the duration of the program. It’s about so much more than numbers, people. You can weigh yourself before and after, but we’ve found that no-scale victories are the biggest victories.
9. No cheats, no slip, no excuses. Or you start over.
Why so strict? Go big or go home, folks. Each of the foods on the “no” list represent either a. a potential allergen or b. an immune disruptor. Certain foods could be having a negative impact on your health without you even realizing it. Since your immune system is largely housed in your gut, your body may not be able to completely repair itself and fight off invaders at the same time. In order to discover the foods that may or may not harm your body, you strip out all of the potentially physically and psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. And then reintroduce them, group by group, little by little. By following the 30 days and the reintroduction program, you can see exactly how your body responds to each food. As Melissa says: “imagine you have 10 cats, and you’re allergic to cats. If you get rid of 9 of them, will you feel better?” Maybe? Yes? No? How will you ever know unless you get rid of all 10 once and for all?
With that said, let’s move on to the yes’s. You can eat as much healthy protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fat as you are physically hungry for. Ideally, you don’t have to read any food labels because all of the food you’re eating are whole, natural, and unprocessed. Unfortunately, there are hidden sugars in things like tomato sauce, pickles, and canned foods, so it’s important to be mindful of these while shopping.
So, no labels and no alcohol? Umm, how do you do that?! We did the Whole30 program together in October for all of those reasons above. We started for different reasons. Rachel had done one before while living in Miami and lost a ton of weight. When her boyfriend of four years broke up with her, she went on a six-month bender, but one day, enough was enough. Anna started because she wanted to lose a few more pounds before her wedding. In January, we recruited more friends to our team. We needed a team because the shopping is hard. The meal planning is hard. The motivation becomes hard and sometimes, when everyone around you is knocking back fireball shots faster than Pitbull can say “Fireball dunDUNdundundundun,” you need someone’s smile from across the bar to tip your lime and seltzer at knowingly.
January 1st is a traditional start date for Whole30. The founders of the program run a big national push for people to start on January 1st, and so by default, you end up with a HUGE online network of teammates. It’s all over their blog, instagram and forum and you connect with thousands of other people who are also committing to this lifestyle. We figured the more the merrier.
How did we feel? This is a tricky one. We’ve felt different ways on different days. On day one, we felt awesome. On days two and three, we felt hungover. On day seven, our pants felt tighter than when we started (wtf?!). On day twelve, we had the most realistic food dreams about tings we don’t even crave in real life (Anna woke up crying because she thought she ate truffle covered goat cheese in the ocean in the South of France with her best friend). But the moral of the story is around day fifteen, we started to feel this unbelievable energy. In our line of work, you have to be on your toes, on the move, and on-stage all day long. Having boundless energy and endless positive things to say to children isn’t just important, it’s the difference between loving teaching and despising life. The energy created motivation to keep going and it’s just continued to snowball.
How do we prepare for a working week on the Whole30? Not going to lie, it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of prep, but it’s totally worth it. We both prep a bit differently, but we’ve found what works for us individually and we love making shopping and cooking dates together and with a group of friends, it’s actually a lot of fun.
So, 30 days has come and gone…why are we still going? We feel really, really good, that’s why. We’ve never slept better, had more energy, or been more in control of our food choices. That said, we also haven’t rid ourselves totally of all of our “emotional” food issues, though we’ve come a long way. We still crave sugar after dinner or wake up drooling because we want bacon. We continue the journey towards that elusive thing called “food freedom.” We want to indulge happily and guilt-free when we choose, not when our mind tells us it’s time for a sugar rush. We want to reach a “goal weight,” or have my wedding dress fit perfectly. Mostly though, we want to keep on feeling really good for all of the milestones we have coming up as well as life in general!
Anna and Rachel just started another Whole30 on March 1st and their experience has convinced me to hop on board this spring as well. If you’re interested in joining us in April for One Healthy Whole 30, stay tuned for more info, resources, and motivation. In the meantime, check out Teach. Eat. Repeat. and poke around the Whole30 site too! Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions for Anna and Rachel! Last, but not least: Whole30 Onion Rings:
Game Day Recipe: Whole30 Onion Rings
What you’ll need:
- 1 large yellow onion
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ coconut flour (Note: if you only have one or the other, that’s totally fine. We like the mix, but it really doesn’t matter).
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 4 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cayenne
- ½ tsp salt
- Two mixing bowls
- Baking sheet
- Cooking Spray
What We did:
- Preheat the oven to 400degrees
- Slice the onion.
- Mix the flours and spices in one bowl. Mix them around a bit so they’re good and friendly with each other.
- Crack eggs into the other bowl
- Use one hand to dredge the onion through the eggs and then plop into the bowl with the flours.
- When they’re all coated, bake for 20 minutes. Make sure they’re not touching. After 10 minutes, flip the rings so both sides get toasty.
- Serve alone, with guacamole or whip up some Whole30 mayo and mix it with Buffalo sauce for a spicy, creamy treat.
Give yourself the touchdown cheer! You just made some healthy onion rings!
One Healthy Breakdown: thanks for the inspiration, explanation, and energy!