In January of last year, I kept seeing #Whole30 floating around the internet. It seemed everyone was doing this diet as their New Years Resolution. Then in the summer I saw my friend write a status about how she was trying it to help with her mirgranes. I thought, "OK time to check this thing out."
I bought the Whole 30 book, read the entire thing over the weekend and started it on a Monday. It was one of the best health decisions I've ever made.
What is the Whole 30?
The Whole 30 is a 30-day-elimination “diet” where you cut out anything that causes inflammation. I say diet lightly because the goal of it isn’t to simply shed weight (although that happens.) The goal is to transform your lifestyle and relationship with food.
Here’s what you CANNOT have for 30 days
Sugar (except for fruit. But even honey is out of the question)
Additives like MSG, sulfites and carrageenan
You are also NOT allowed to recreate any baked goods with approved ingredients. The goal of this is to teach you how to kick your Oreo addiction, not just make “healthier” Oreos out of coconut flour.
Sounds overwhelming, right? Even I was a little scared and I already followed a gluten and dairy free diet. The key to success is instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, focus on what you can have.
For each meal, the Whole 30 would like you to have half of your plates veggies, plus a protein and a healthy fat.
Here’s what my meals looked like:
Eggs, avocado, spinach, berries
Breakfast sausage and sweet potatoes cooked in olive oil
Egg, bacon and veggie cups
Salad with chicken or salmon cakes, lots of veggies and an approved dressing (like primal kitchen dairy-free Caesar dressing)
Meatloaf with broccoli
Shredded Buffalo chicken with homemade sweet potato fries
“Egg Roll in a Bowl”- One of my all-time favs.
Taco meat over a baked potato topped with salsa, guacamole, cilantro and jalapeños
Zuppa Toscana (a spin on the soup from Olive Garden where you sub dairy for coconut milk)
Doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? If you plan your meals it really isn’t hard.
What are the downsides to the Whole 30?
There were times where I wanted to give up. It wasn’t fun having to make brownies while babysitting and not be able to lick the bowl. It was hard to deal with the look on people’s faces when I explained why I couldn’t eat anything on the restaurant menu. Sometimes you just can't stand to eat another piece of broccoli.
What are the upsides to the Whole 30?
Losing weight without even realizing it.
Having more energy than I when I was a kid.
Having perfectly smooth skin.
Sleeping better at night.
The biggest one was fixing a broken relationship with food.
Since September, I’ve completed 2 full rounds and 3 mini rounds. It’s been empowering to see how much control I have over food now. It's wonderful to know how to fuel my body with food it needs.
If you feel lost when it comes to eating a balanced diet, have a broken relationship with food, or simply want to feel amazing, I urge you to give the Whole 30 a try. It might seem overwhelming, but as Melissa Hartwig (founder of Whole 30) says, “Fighting cancer is hard. Losing a loved one is hard. Detoxing off heroin is hard. Drinking your coffee black for 30 days is not hard.”
Happy clean eating,