An Introduction to Whole30
Hey guys and Happy New Year!
I’m finally back in LA and slowly coming to terms with the reality that the semester is starting. I had been avoiding emails for the past three weeks and I’ve recently gathered the strength to answer most of them. The semester will be in full swing starting on Monday so I’m trying to use this time to get everything in order so that things get off to a smooth start. Grocery shopping, house cleaning, etc. As my vacation officially ends and I embark upon this semester, I have decided that it would be nice to give my body a bit of a reset as well. Starting Monday, I will begin a Whole30.
Some of you might be familiar with this but for those of you who aren’t, I’ll try my best to break it down for you. Whole30 is a program developed by authors Melissa and Dallas Hartwig that is designed to reset and heal the body from damage that may have been caused by eating foods that irritate the gut. Over my break, I had the pleasure of listening to the audible version (I refused to actually read anything over break as I know that my school reading will come flooding in soon enough) of their book It Starts with Food and I highly highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in learning more about how food affects your mental and physical health and thus, your overall well-being. It truly is a great read and/or listen that is useful for anyone – paleo or not-paleo. In addition to discussing the sciency stuff behind the effects that certain foods have on the body, the Hartwigs provide testimonials from their patients that give life to the physiological stuff. The extent to which our food choices impact our lives is incredible.
Falling in line with the science and testimonials that they present, Dallas and Melissa designed the Whole30 program as a way for individuals to heal their bodies and in the process learn more about the foods that they can and cannot tolerate.
So what exactly does the Whole 30 entail?
The official details of the Whole30 can be found on the Whole30 website (http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/) but I will sum it up for you guys here. The Whole30 calls for 30 days of super “clean” eating. What do I mean by “clean?” Clean means eliminating all food groups that potentially irritate the gut and promote unhealthiness. This includes gluten, grains, dairy, processed foods, refined sugar, and alcohol.
What can you eat while on the Whole30?
The Whole30 emphasizes eating real food. Getting away from the industrialized foods that have come to make up the majority of the Western diet, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds make up the bulk of what one consumes while on the Whole30. For those who engage in a certain level of physical activity, nutrient-dense starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and On the restricted list are grains (both those containing and not containing gluten), legumes, refined and unrefined added sugar (fruit is okay), processed foods that include chemicals such as carrageenan, MSG, and sulfates, dairy (ghee is an exception because lactose has been removed), and alcohol. Perhaps the most interesting and beneficial Whole30 restriction is that of “healthy” versions of baked goods, junk foods, and treats. I will talk more about this below.
So why Whole30?
The Whole30 is not a fad diet intended to make you lose weight (though many do). The Whole30 is a month long healing detox that empowers you by giving you the opportunity to learn how different foods affect your body and mind. One of the most powerful aspects of It Starts with Food are the sections where the Hartwigs address the mental and emotional dimensions of food consumption. One reason that “healthy” versions of baked goods, sweets, and other junk foods are prohibited while on the Whole30 is because eating these things, even if made with more nutritious ingredients, still contributes to an unhealthy relationship with food. A cookie made with almond flour, local raw honey, and dairy-free chocolate chips is still a cookie. While it is unreasonable to never eat these things again, the Whole30 gives you the power to decide when you would like to indulge and the restraint to not overindulge when you do.
What am I personally hoping to achieve from Whole30ing?
As most of you know, I did a trial run with paleo in April and decided to stick with it. I’m still 100% happy with my choice as the changes that I’ve made to my diet have made notable differences in my life and overall health. Though I’m already paleo, there are still ways in which I am looking to improve my health and better my relationship with food. I still struggle with sugar cravings, particularly at night after dinner. While I’m not at all opposed to dessert, I sometimes feel like the cravings get the best of me and I end up consuming way too much sugar right before bed. Listening to It Starts with Food made me realize that by physically and mentally resetting myself, I can do away with this aggressive need for sugar. Furthermore, since going paleo, I’ve spent a lot of time (and money) making recipes that mimic foods that are unhealthy or not-paleo-approved. Recreating foods that are traditionally full of gluten and sugar using paleo-improved ingredients takes you away from the foundational principle of paleo, which is eating real food. Since I was away from home for the past three weeks, and thus, away from all of my fancy ingredients (my mother didn’t even know that things like almond flour and coconut aminos existed until I brought it to her attention), I used my vacation to get back to the basics of eating well. High quality meat and veggies seasoned and cooked well. Not only did it save me time in the kitchen, it also saved me money and allowed me to hone my culinary skills by exploring flavor with simple ingredients and spices.
From Monday, January 12, 2015 – Wednesday, February 11, 2014 I will be Whole30ing and journaling about it on the blog. I’m excited to see where this journey takes me and share it all with you guys. I’m a little nervous…
Have any of you guys ever Whole30ed or thought about Whole30ing?