The Whole 30 diet - I am sure most of you have heard of it. This article is pretty much my opinion on the Whole 30 and why or why not to do it.
What is the Whole 30?
It is not a diet like everyone thinks it is, but a way to find out what your body may be sensitive to and what foods you may have to eliminate altogether to have a happier body. So, if you think that drinking dairy makes you have diarrhea, or that lots of sugar gives you road rage, then this may be a way to find out what is up with your food choices and help you eliminate them.
The Whole 30 has very strict rules you have to follow for 30 days. I say strict, because I have done several Whole 30s myself, and have only completed one. Obviously, I still am road raging and have elimination problems; thanks for asking.
The rules are this: If you decide to do this, you need to take responsibility and do this for 30 days. You need to cut out sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes. Eat real food.
Don’t make your food into something that emulates a favorite food like pizza, pancakes, cake (oh man, such a problem for me) and the like. Eat 3 times a day. Don’t snack. Don’t weigh for a month. Don’t count calories.
So, how hard can it be - puuullleeeaaasseee...
Um, yeah, it is hard.
Let's talk about that sneaky sugar.
Sugar is pretty much in everything. Bacon (yeah, who knew) and is added to a lot of different meats, veggies , etc. You have to look at labels. Like, with your reading glasses and everything.
What can I drink?
Oh, yeah, don’t drink, kids. Well, that's a lie, only drink water. And of course, Vodka, because it's clear... No, I am kidding. That is so not Whole 30 approved.
Other Foods You Are Eliminating
No legumes which means no beans (red, pinto, navy, white kidney, lima and fava, just to name a few) or peanut butter. No soy, either. For example, no tofu, tempeh, edamame, and lecithin.
No grains. This includes corn, rye, barley, oats, rice, millet quinoa, bran. I cut out bread but had no idea people still ate rye. Gross. I can do this...
No dairy. No milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream or ice cream.
Let me get this straight... You cut out different food groups, it has to be whole food you have to consume, and you have to look at every food label that crosses your path unless it comes from the ground. Easy peasy, right?
Well, not so fast, sparky. It's not easy. In fact, its quite hard to eat totally and completely whole foods, or at least I find it is.
However, you have to remember this - it is not a diet. This is to eliminate foods that you think maybe not sitting so well with you.
Maybe you have headaches. Maybe you feel like you have been run over by a mac truck every morning and know it's not your bed, because you just bought a new one last month, but it seems to happen every time you have a sugar binge. Hmmmm. Weird.
I remember reading the rules online, because I was told about this “diet” about 3 years ago. It was free, it was on the Whole 30 website and every coworker around me was doing it.
I thought - crap, I can run circles around them. I mean, come on. I lost 160 pounds. I have kept it off. I like whole food, and I eat pretty well now - so of course, I will do just fine.
However, my coworkers that got through the Whole 30 felt amazing. Day 30, and most of them wanted to continue, they felt so great. I knew at that time in my life I couldn’t do it - my mind was not prepared for it, and I knew I would sabotage myself in a big way.
Lucky me got to see all my chest-bumping coworkers having a blast talking about their eggs and sweet potato hash they had for breakfast, or how they have a beautiful chicken salad for lunch and made a tasty Whole 30 approved dressing for it... Blah blah blah.
Fast forward to 2017. I finally completed my first Whole 30. It changed my life. I swear, I think about it, and I get the vapors, even now.
You know what it did for me? It detoxed me off the juice - and by juice I mean sugar. Sugar is total crack to me. I love sugar almost... Well, let's be honest, more than my husband. That's a lot of love, people.
I didn’t care about going without bread, pasta, legumes, or dairy. Getting off the sugar was for real like detoxing off of speed. I cried. I threw things. I acted out. I cried again. I went up to my nieces asking if I could take their cereal-laden bowls so I could smell the sugar in it.
After 30 days, it was life-changing.
After the 30 days are over, and the strict rules are gone, what do you do?
Well, you start to add back in things. If you start to react to it, you know what's causing your issues. One at a time I started to add things back in. I got my zits back when I started to add back dairy. Nothing happened when I added back in beans.
Boy howdy, when I added back in sugar, though...
I became a sugar hound. That little sugar I added in my coffee became two spoonfuls. Then, I had to eat something sweet. Then, when we ate out, I started to get desserts again. You see where I am going with this, right?
The reason, in my humble opinion, that this is so life-changing is that we have no idea how addicted we are to certain substances that are in our own food.
Knowing that sugar is that much of a trigger for me was mind-blowing. Obviously, I was morbidly obese because I love food, but knowing my reaction to sugar was actually physical was a huge relief.
I felt like my morbid obesity was caused by only one thing - my psychology. Now, I knew for sure that was not the case.
The Whole 30 is not a fad diet, it is a way to find out what foods your body may be sensitive to. This is done by eliminating whole food groups for 30 days. After 30 days are done, you start to implement each food group back, one by one.
It is a tedious process, to be sure, however, if you want to find out if a specific food group is giving you issues, cutting it out for 30 days and having it purged from your system then bringing it back in seems very effective. Oh, and kinda science-y as well.
There are worse things than eating whole and nutritious foods. In fact, I believe this is a good way to start off the New Year for many people; especially those who have a lot of food issues, like myself.
If you would like more info, go to the Whole 30 site and look up all the rules. Melissa Hartwig has a new book out (kinda a trilogy-like the Hobbit) called “Food Freedom Forever.”
Sounds like she is my best friend. But she isn’t. I don’t even know her, but yes, she did change my life.