Whole30 is what would appear to be one of the latest food fads that should come with a hefty wooden club and animal skin outfit. It closely resembles the Paleo/Primal/Cavewoman diet in that the primary sources of food are the fertile steppes of Neanderthalville and its hunting grounds, or at least the meat and produce sections of your grocery store.
Whole30 is far more restrictive than Paleo (if you can believe it) in that there are no sweetners of ANY kind, absolutely no packaged foods, no dairy, grains, alcohol (which includes wine - wine is alcohol - I looked it up just to be sure). beans/legumes or soy allowed. And for the love of God, black coffee and potatoes are allowed. Within the time frame you subject yourself to this apparent horror (30 days or longer), there is NO room for error or sneaks. Whereas with Paleo, the general guides allow for an 80/20 approach (80% cavewoman, 20% pizza and cake).
I've now been on Whole30 for 11 days. And yes, at some points it feels more like WholeEternity, especially while gazing longingly at the red wine and dark chocolate sitting on my counter. I'm not sure why I torture myself so. (If you know me at all, you KNOW what a huge deal it is for me to have not touched that wine or chocolate. Serious commitment willpower, people.) And I must confess that having been eating the Paleo way for most of the last four years, moving to the Whole30 program is not as hard as it could be had I started Whole30 cold-turkey. Great. Now I'm craving cold turkey.
This gorgeous book (I bought mine at Costco) is the Whole30 bible. There are also several bloggers who have been a great source of recipes, like nomnompaleo, and friends and followers on Instagram and FB have been my inspiration to keep it going, and posting here and there has helped keep me motivated - and accountable.
The Whole30 experience is more like a "detox" (I hate that word and use it very loosely here) and an elimination diet. By doing Whole30 for 30 days, you stop eating most of our known sources of allergies and sensitivities, headache, body ache, and general malaise. The full list of all the no-nos is in the book, along with the reasons why we should stop consuming these foods. The Whole30 program calls for lots of vegetables and fruit (organic when possible), grass-fed organic meats (thankful for Costco on this one), and healthy fats (oils and clarified butter), and cooking and preparing meals from scratch.
Most people have asked me if I've lost weight yet. And while the program creators pretty much forbid the use of scales and measuring tapes during the program since weight loss is not the purpose of the program, my stepdad lost about 30 pounds. I've noticed that my clothes fit a little better, a sure sign that weight loss can be a lovely little side benefit. My mom's hip and back problems nearly disappeared during her Whole30 and have come back again since going off of it. (Um, mom? Go back on Whole30!)
There is a ton of research and support for the claims that consuming grains, dairy, preservatives, sugar, MSG, unhealthy fats, and food coloring can cause or exacerbate all kinds of health issues, including cancers. At 46 years old it's hard to say whether changing my eating habits these last few years will undo damage already done by years of Funyons, Diet Coke and Blueberry Jell-O, but I'm certainly not going to make myself any sicker. (Not that I was sick, per se, just not necessarily all that healthy.)
So if you've been hearing about Whole30 and even about Paleo/Primal/Caveman/Cavewoman, that's pretty much it in a nutshell. If you want to give either program a go, please do you research and buy the book (also availalbe for Kindles and e-readers) and if you have any major health issues, you should consult your doctor.
This was my lunch a few days ago - tuna salad with homemade mayo (so freakin' easy), celery, red onions, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Grape tomatoes, avocado, and soda water with lemon on the side. Delicious, seriously healthy, and quite filling.
Oh, and one little gem from the book that has helped me get through some serious cravings? Open up a bottle of peppermint essential oil and sniff away like a junkie. Works like a charm!
Happy healthy eats, friends!
Super Oil Mom