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Whole30 Tips While Traveling

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Whole30 is an elimination diet that removes inflammatory food groups from your diet for 30 days. The list of eliminated foods includes dairy, sugar, legumes, alcohol, and all grains. For 30 days and 30 nights you cannot consume any of those foods! This is to return your digestive system to a pre-inflammatory state. Basically, you can have negative effects of inflammation, such as bloating, chronic pain, skin conditions, etc. that may be affecting your overall health and wellness and you don’t even realize it. By removing these food groups from your diet, you can reset your digestive system to a natural state and see how your body reacts.

Once you’ve completed the 30 days, you then re-introduce foods into your diet, one category at a time. By introducing the foods slowly, you can gauge how your body responds to different inflammatory food groups. Based on that information, you may choose to exclude certain food groups from your diet indefinitely. The Whole30 diet is a challenge, period. It can be even more difficult if you are traveling.

Personally, I completed Whole30 while traveling. I began at the start of a new assignment and completed the diet during my first month. My personal results were amazing! I lost 17 pounds in the 30 days and resolved persisting gastric indigestion (GERD) issues. It’s been six weeks since I completed Whole30 and have slowly reintegrated all of the food groups. I still feel great and have maintained my weight loss. Here are my tips for finding success on Whole30 while you are traveling.

YOU Have To Be Motivated

Whole30 is a big commitment and you have to be personally motivated to do it. If you are dealing with pain or an ailment associated with inflammation, such as GERD, stomach pains, irregular bowels, skin rashes, etc., you may be more motivated to commit to the diet than somebody who doesn’t have pre-existing issues. For me personally, I was at a bad point with my GERD and had recently put on extra pounds that seemed to be inflammatory water weight. I was highly motivated to relieve my GERD symptoms and drop those pounds.

If your only goal on Whole30 is to lose weight, this diet may not be for you. While you might lose weight on Whole30, especially if you have inflammatory bloating, you may not necessarily lose weight. Whole30 isn’t low carb and doesn’t count calories. Honestly, there are less restrictive ways to lose weight.

Know The Rules

Whole30 is very restrictive and you need to know the rules. The number one resource that I recommend for the Whole30 diet is the book by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig The Whole 30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. Also, there is a TON of great information online. The Whole30 website is a great place to start. You absolutely need to read labels on any foods that you buy. However, you will probably find yourself ignoring labeled foods altogether. It’s much easier to stick to natural whole foods.

Start at The Beginning Of a New Assignment

It can be hard to pick a start date for Whole30, so decide to start at the beginning of your next assignment. Drive to your assignment, eat a meal, and then go to the grocery store for the first time to stock up your new kitchen.

women standing in the desert
A shot of me the day that I started Whole30. I had to wear lose fitting clothes because my pants didn’t fit.

Only Bring Whole30 Foods Into Your House

When you go shopping that first time, do not buy any non-Whole30 approved foods and do not bring any non-Whole30 approved foods into the house. This will just tempt you to stray. Keep your kitchen Whole30 only. Then, you don’t have to think about what you are eating, you can just eat it. And, you will not be tempted to eat other foods. This is the best advice that I can give to anybody who does Whole30, whether you are traveling or stable in one spot.

Tell Your Peers & Ask for Support

When I explained to people what Whole30 was and why I was on it, I found them to be very supportive. This is unlike other diets, where my friends often pressured me to have a cheat day. However, on Whole30, I found that people were very understanding and supportive of my diet. I attribute this to the strict rules and guidelines. It was easier for people to stop pressuring me to eat something because they could understand the clearly defined dietary rules, versus if I just said, “I’m on a diet.”

I told all of my co-workers and friends that I was on Whole30 and explained it in detail to them. I think this was a huge part of my success. My co-workers, who barely knew me at the time, were super supportive. While I never asked them to do this, they curbed ordering take out, so I wouldn’t be tempted to stray. They also threw a big party when the diet was over so that we could all enjoy tacos in the break room.

Meal Prep On Your Days Off

The key to success on Whole30 is preparation. Meal prepping is critical to following Whole30. On your days off of work, set aside time to go grocery shopping and meal prep. I prepared lots of meatballs and chicken breasts that I could add to salads or vegetables for protein. I also made Whole30 approved stirfries.

For ideas of recipes, definitely check out this book: The Whole30: The 30 Day Guide To Health And Food Freedom and the many great Instagram accounts dedicated to Whole30. I do not like to cook, but I found the recipes online and in the book to be very straightforward and easy for a non-cook like me!

Avoid Going On an Assignment That is a Culinary Destination

In eight years of traveling professionally, there were assignments where I ate out multiple times per week, and those where I could have cared less about eating any of the food in town. Some destinations just appeal to my culinary senses more than others. If possible, choose to do Whole30 on an assignment where you are not so thrilled about the food options in the area. It will make things a lot easier if you aren’t dying to try a new restaurant. Although, that being said, sometimes you just want a change and are motivated to start, even if you are excited about the food in a new location.

If you are thinking about completing Whole30, please do not let traveling stop you! With a dedicated mindset and some simple planning, you can complete it! If you are suffering from any chronic issues due to inflammation, I would highly suggest trying Whole30!

Me after the Whole30! I’m wearing jeans again and feel like a weight has been lifted off of my body!

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2 thoughts on “Whole30 Tips While Traveling”

  1. Hi Julia-
    First of all..WOW! I love your Blog! You have answered so many questions I have had about being a traveler. Your site is such a wealth of information and I made sure that I subscribed. I am a PTA and on a couple of occasions have talked with recruiters from travel agencies about traveling but I always seem to stop the process when it comes to licensing in other states and finding housing. On the housing part, only because it just wasn’t clear to me where I would live and what it would cost :/ (I like your suggestion about temporary housing until I would be able to see that area, traffic, distance, etc.). Two questions I have are, do you take your own car to the assignments that are in the states and how easy/difficult has it been to get licensing? (I realize ST may be different from PTA as far as licensing). I look forward to receiving blog posts from you! Dianne (Texas)

    1. Hi Dianne! Thanks for the kind words! Glad that you find the blog so helpful and that it could potentially help you take a leap into traveling therapy. Licensing is one of the harder parts about travel. It gets more challenging the more licenses that you have. Because each new states will want to verify your current or previous licenses and that takes time and money with the boards. My best advice is to get a couple of licenses in the beginning of your travels, when you only have 1 state that you need to get verified, and the process will be easier. As far as a car goes, I have done everything. I have driven my car cross-country, shipped my car, and also flew to an assignment and bought a car that I sold when I left and rented a car for 3 months. Best of luck!

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