Full disclosure: I don’t believe in diets. The only time I weigh myself is at the doctor’s office, I’m aware of the fact that restrictions can be bad for your health, and I eat fairly intuitively (80 percent fresh whole foods, 20 percent brie cheese and chocolate chip cookies).
However, I am on a constant quest to use food as medicine (like identifying sugar as a cause for brain fog, while natural fats help me focus). I also believe that when it comes to health and nutrition, what doesn’t work for one person might be a miracle fix for another. Whole30 is not your average diet, and even I (a self-titled diet skeptic) can see perks of the diet trend taking the world by storm. So, is Whole30 right for you?
What is the Whole30 Diet?
Whole30 is a 30-day diet that eliminates sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy while focusing on whole foods. In other words, you’re temporarily breaking up with skinny margaritas and Papa John’s pizza (the delivery guy will miss you!). Whole30 is different than the average “diet” because it’s only meant to be temporary and involves no calorie-restricting or macro-tracking. Just be warned that it is not for the faint of heart (cutting out so many common foods is not easy!). The good news is that since the diet is temporary, it feels more attainable.
Is Whole30 right for you?
Restriction is a slippery slope when it comes to nutrition. If you’re looking for a quick fix for weight loss, any temporary “diet” is not for you. You might lose some weight throughout the 30 days, but once you get off the diet, you can easily gain the weight back. Short-term diets for the sake of weight loss can lead to yo-yo dieting and unhealthy eating patterns.
However, the basis of Whole30 is to remove commonly problematic foods that could be causing inflammation and adding foods that make your body feel good. Whole30 could be right for you if you’re interested in trying an elimination diet to test for food sensitivities that can be causing everything from brain fog to acne to digestive issues.
Whole30 is also good for breaking bad habits and food addictions. If you find yourself craving sweets after every meal or rely on a daily glass of wine to unwind after work (don’t we all?), you could be cultivating an addiction to sugar or becoming emotionally dependent on food. 30 days is long enough to break habits (like that snacking addiction!) and form new habits.
With that being said, if you do find that Whole30 is right for you, be careful of labeling the “off-limit foods” as off-limits once the 30 days are over. Food guilt is worse for your body than a plate of pasta or ice cream cone could be. If you want to indulge in a glass of wine or a slice of cake now and then, proceed guilt-free, knowing that you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs most of the time, and the occasional treat won’t affect that.
The Whole30 Grocery List
- Grass-fed meats and organic poultry
- Seafood (ideally wild-caught and sustainably fished)
- Pastured eggs
- Soy-free plant-based “meat” (like the Beyond Burger)
- Acorn squash
- Butternut squash
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potato
Nuts/Seeds (to eat occasionally):
- Brazil nuts
- Flax seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Coconut oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut butter
- Coconut milk
Everything You Need for Whole30 Cooking
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