I've compiled a three-part post on my January 2016 experience with the Whole30. Want my reasons for doing the Whole30? Read Part 1 here and stay tuned for Part 3, "So How's it Going?" later this week.
It's normal to first hear about the Whole30 and dismiss it as totally restrictive and border-line crazy. That is certainly what I thought before I started reading the Whole30 book. No dark chocolate for a month? Are you freaking kidding me?!?
Quick Whole30 Definition
For 30 days, eating real, whole foods: veggies, fruits, clean meats, nuts, eggs and seeds. And coffee. And komucha! And almond milk. Now the kicker: no grains, no sugar, no processed food, no legumes, no alcohol, no dairy and no hummus.
However, the core tenants of the Whole 30 are based in science and not on some fad, flash, gimmick-filled diet. In fact, the authors even wrote a more technical book, "It Starts With Food" to dive in to the nitty, gritty details.
Want the quick and dirty? Read on for the basic scientific take-aways of the Whole30, how I explain the nutrition plan to my clients, friends and family and what's been in my head for the past month:
Reduce your roller-coster ride relationship with sugar
Consuming added sugar makes your blood sugar spike, which causes inflammation, fat storage and can wreck your hormonal balance.
It can also make you cranky, lethargic and feeds the little devil that encourages you to eat more, more, more sugar throughout the day, and the next day, and the next.
It's really "not your fault" that you crave sugar all the time. It's the way you've conditioned your body to know it's near and therefore, crave it. It's a survival instinct.
The best way to break-up with sugar?
Go cold turkey for 3-4 days.
Warn your friends, warn your family. It might be rough. But you can do it.
Read your labels.
Added sugar? Skip it.
A banana is fine, an apple is fine. Fruits have fiber to slow down the absorption of natural sugars in to your body. It's even better if you pair a carbohydrate snack with a fat or a protein (i.e. a handful of nuts or strips of chicken).
Pin-point food sensitivities:
You may not be full-scale allergic to gluten, you may not have celiac's disease, but once you reintroduce gluten after 30 days, you MAY balloon up. And then, my friends, you'll know you have a gluten sensitivity.
Have any of you experienced this? I have! I eat a pretty "clean diet" and when I have some pizza and beer, my body gets inflamed, I store water and walk around with a poofy face for at least 24 hours.
Same goes with dairy, legumes, sugar etc. for some people.
Did you know that dairy stays in your system for up to 4 days? So if you have dairy only twice a week, you'll never notice the low-grade inflammation to which you're subjecting your body. You need to cut it out for 2-3 weeks, then reintroduce.
I swear, there is life after cheese! I used to love it. Crave it. Give-me-all-the-brie-in-the-world-now and i'll-even-eat-your-brie-crusts-kind-of-crave-it. Now I rarely have cheese (except sometimes on thin-crust fancy veggie pizza) and I've pretty much gotten over it. Your body adapts and your taste buds evolve. Now I crave roasted brussels (with bacon!).
Re-defining food as comfort
We all have our go-to comfort foods and might not even realize it.
It might be the calming and rhythmic spooning of your breakfast cereal (which you should re-think anyways as it most likely just spikes your blood sugar), your 3pm Diet Coke + Chocolate Trail Mix fix, or your ever-increasing portion of buttery popcorn before bed.
The comprehensive Whole30 book dives in to the differences between craving and real-hunger. The authors have also written a more scientific book It Starts With Food, that I'm definitely reading in the next couple months.
Eating more Real, Whole Food
More plants! More plants!
You can't go wrong increasing the veggies in your diet, eating the rainbow, upping your nutrient intake, increasing your fiber and "opening your pathways of elimination" as they say.
Feel free to fill up your plate with veggies and eat with abundance.
SO, HOW'S IT GOING?
Stay tuned for Part 3!
In the meantime ....