Label reading of EVERYTHING was one of the hardest habits for me to get into when I started my first Whole30. Until then, I had always operated on the idea that the name of something doubled as the ingredients of something. I was SO wrong. Once I started reading, I couldn’t believe how many additives and fillers things were put in foods!
This rang true with my spice cabinet, too. I mean, how bad could a spice be?! Turns out, there can be lots of crazy things in those little herb shakers! Through my rounds of Whole30, I’ve learned what spices to keep on my shelf and what to toss. I’ve also figured out what I can make homemade and what I prefer to have store bought (aka what I’m too lazy to try to make).
It is also worth including the most likely thing to make or break if I’m going to try a new recipe is the number of spices it requires. If I have to pull a ton of little bottles and spoons out of my cabinet every time I cook, it’s just probably not going to happen, at least not on a regular basis. So, prepping spices and keeping my spice rack stocked is a good way for me to make sure we have flavorful food and don’t get stuck in a “just put more salt on it!” rut. Here are some of my faves:
In general, I struggle to find any fully compliant breakfast meat. When I’m not doing a Whole30, I allow myself to have sweetened sausage or bacon, but while I am doing an actual round, I’m usually out of luck. The January 2019 round, I decided to give making my own breakfast sausage using ground pork and seasoning a go…it’s a hit for the whole family! Rather than having to drag all the ingredients out every week to make a batch, I made a triple batch of the seasoning so all I would have to do is mix it with the ground pork. It made my weekly meal prep so much easier! And, as you can see, I got super fancy with my ziplock bag :) You can find the recipe over at 40 Aprons for their Easy Whole30 Breakfast Sausage.
Taco Tuesday (and maybe Wednesday and Thursday and Friday) is pretty much a staple in our house. Not only do we love the flavors, I think throwing together some kind of Mexican meal is as easy as it gets. Needless to say, we go through a lot of taco seasoning. At the beginning of any Whole30 round (and then as needed on a regular basis) I mix up a mason jar-worthy batch of taco seasoning so I don’t have to mix it up multiple times each week. My go-to recipe is this Homemade Taco Seasoning from The Real Food Dietitians.
It’s not realistic for me to think that I’m going to carefully mix up every blend of herbs that I want to use every time when I can pay a little bit more for someone else to do it. Here are some of my favorites:
Trader Joe’s EVERYTHING BUT THE BAGEL. Love this on all the breakfast things!!! No TJ’s? No problem! I ordered this bottle on Amazon!
Primal Palate Blends. This is a super clean line of spices but they do cost a little bit more than what you buy on the shelf. I bought these blends for really special occasions, so they last me a while.
Regular Grocery finds, in this case, Mrs. Dash. Sometimes there’s no time (or extra money!) to order organic spices and it’s nice just to grab something off the shelf at Walmart. This blend is Whole30 compliant, but maybe not ideal when compared to the other options. My decision with something like this? Use it and not worry! “Citric Acid” and “Natural Flavors” aren’t my favorite things to see on an ingredient list of herbs, but they are also not the worst.
This is such a short list, but I’m sure the more I cook and experiment with foods the more I’ll add to this list. My advice: if you find a meal you make regularly that requires a blend of spices every time, mix a double (or triple!) batch in advance so all you have to do is scoop it in rather than measure out a bunch of different bottles with lids that never let a spoon fit the way it’s supposed to.
Most importantly, have fun! I think seasoning is the most exciting part of a meal most of the time…don’t be afraid to experiment!