By Judith Forman
Whole30 Certified Coach
As a Whole30 Certified Coach, I always get lots of questions about the program rules, what to expect after the 30 days, and how to move forward with reintroduction and Food Freedom.
And now I’m here to help you! Occasionally, I will use this space to answer your most pressing Whole30 questions!
Need help with something Whole30-related? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll highlight it in a future blog post!
Here are this month’s “Ask the Coach” questions:
1. “I’m confused! Can I have potatoes on Whole30? And if so, can I have them every day?”
Ah, the potato! This vegetable is one the top causes of angst on Whole30. For many, potatoes were considered “bad” or “starchy” or “fattening” in their life before Whole30.
Good news alert: Potatoes of all kinds (white, sweet, red, etc) are totally compatible with Whole30. (There was a rule change in 2014 that brought white potatoes into Whole30, FYI.)
Feel free to incorporate potatoes in your meals, making sure to keep them as ONE of many vegetables that grace your plates. Potatoes are great source of good carbs, which translates into energy you need to keep you going. However, Melissa writes, “that doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all to load up on mashed potatoes and fried plantains with every meal. While carbs from whole, unprocessed sources can be naturally satiating food-with-brakes (especially when combined with a healthy fat, like ghee), they do provide a concentrated source of energy in the body. My best recommendation: Deliberately eat more if you’re active; eat a normal amount in rotation with other veggies if you’re less active.”
Remember: Commercially-made (if you can buy it from a store/it comes in a bag/it’s from a restaurant) potato chips and fries are not allowed on Whole30. You CAN certainly make your own homemade potato chips or fries. (Just remember: No deep frying on Whole30! The Air Fryer is a great option.)
I am a big fan of potatoes of all kinds! Below are some of my favorite Whole30 recipes that incorporate potatoes. Enjoy!
2. “Help! How much fruit can I have on Whole30? I’m worried I’m overdoing it – and I want to see results.”
This is also a frequently asked question in my Whole30 group. For longtime dieters, fruit has a bad rap because of its natural sugars, calorie content, and carbohydrates. But, fruit is not your foe! It just has to be used correctly as part of the Whole30 meal template.
To build your plate, always start with vegetables (at least half of your plate should be veggies) and then add your protein and healthy fat, per the template recommendations. Fruit is an optional add to your plate. If you do choose it, Whole30 recommends that you eat it with your meal – and not after the fact, to satisfy a post-meal sweet craving. We are trying to change habits on Whole30, and that’s one that many people (including me) have!
Melissa writes: “Our concerns with eating fresh, whole fruit isn’t about the sugar content or the carbs—it’s about how you’re eating it, and why. We want to make sure you’re not leaning on fruit to satisfy your sugar cravings, as that won’t help you change your dessert or sugar habits. We also want to make sure you’re always feeling in control when you’re eating fruit—or any food, for that matter, even Whole30 fare.”
For you, fruit could mean blueberries sprinkled on your salad or some apple slices with Whole30 compatible almond butter with your dinner or a side of fresh mango with your morning veggie omelet. Think about what’s in season and what makes you feel good – physically and emotionally.
You just want to make sure fruit has its place as part of your meal – and it not your entire meal.
If you think fruit is NOT helping you squash your Sugar Dragon, it’s totally fine to leave it out or limit it during your round.
Check out this great “Ask Melissa” piece on fruit – it’s one that I share time and time again in my Whole30 group and with my coaching clients.
Remember – Fruit smoothies, dried fruit, and dried fruit and nut bars are not recommended on Whole30. Fruit juice can be used as a natural sweetener in a recipe (like the apple cider in the famous Melissa’s Chicken Hash) but it’s not advised you drink a glass of 100% juice on the regular. For more on these recommendations (and more good stuff!), check out the official Whole30 “Can I have guide?” – another favorite resource of mine!
3. I’ll still be on my round during Thanksgiving. Do you have any ideas for Whole30 “desserts” I can have so I don’t feel left out while everyone else is enjoying pie?
Traditionally, Whole30 does not include “desserts” of any kind. You can read more here about why it’s not part of the program to recreate things like cookies, cakes, and pies using Whole30 compatible ingredients.
But, in her 2019 “Whole30 Friends & Family” cookbook, Melissa explains that the fruity creations included in the book as dessert recipes are OK – occasionally.
She writes: “Special occasion desserts (especially these fruit-based dishes) are not the problem. Feeling like you need something sweet at the end of every meal is a problem. Prowling through the pantry like a starving raccoon every night is a problem. Telling yourself that you’ll only have one handful/square/spoonful, then eating the whole thing is a problem. These are the habits Whole30 is helping you break.” She goes on to add that enjoying these fruit-based desserts after a special meal with friends or family will hopefully help you “discover a changed relationship with ‘dessert.’”
So, it’s 2020 and you may not be having Thanksgiving with friends or family. But, if you want to enjoy something special after the festive meal, even if it’s just you, go for it!
Below, you’ll find some of my favorite Whole30 “desserts” – recipes that on a regular day would be considered not in the spirit of the program but for Thanksgiving or another special occasion, used in the right context, are just fine. All of them contain Whole30 compatible ingredients.
Breakfast Pumpkin Custard (I usually eat this for dessert at Thanksgiving when I am on a round!)
Paleo Apple Crisp (Omit the coconut sugar and maple syrup if you are on a round.)
Judith Forman is a Whole30 Certified Coach. For more Whole30 inspiration, connect with her on Instagram @jujuswhole30 or check out her blog at www.everydaywhole.com