What is the Whole30?
Whole30 is a 30-day elimination eating plan. The point is to remove entire food groups and known causes of inflammation to see how your body reacts. It is NOT a weight-loss plan, although MANY people will lose weight. That's the icing on a very awesome cake.
My History with Whole30
After seeing some weight loss from eliminating gluten, I did what any person would do. I found gluten-free recipes and cooking methods for my favorite baking, pasta, and bread recipes.
It was during the holiday season and I enjoyed my favorite treats! Almost all of them had a ton of sugar. Sugar is my major downfall. I love Cokes, sweet tea (Southern girl, hello?), ice cream, and any kind of chocolate dessert.
But when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t see my eyes. They were squished between cheeks, eyelids, and forehead fat. Sugar doesn’t contain gluten and I felt I “deserved’ it since I had to refrain from bread and gluten.
For some reason, something clicked within me in January 2013. I started the Whole30 plan, and yes it was hard.
The publisher sent the book, It Starts with Food to do a blog review and I jumped in with both feet on a miserable Monday in January. I couldn’t believe the results after just 1 week. I felt so much better after the first few days of sugar withdrawal. The mental clarity was off the charts!
My Whole30 results: I lost 18 lbs in one month, and best of all, I could see my eyes again. I was running better, lifting more, and actually waking up with more energy. I continued the Whole30 for 2 more weeks.
6 weeks of Whole 30 (so…Whole 40-ish?) and I knew I was going to be very comfortable transitioning to full Paleo for 90% my meals. The other 10% involves dark chocolate, occasional wine, and eating at other tables besides my own. It involves bringing my own food my Momma’s house, but it will not include turning down a good roast with white potatoes and carrots. And her basket of Dove chocolate will not be safe from me.
Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. This includes (but is not limited to) maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, monk fruit extract, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, and xylitol. If there is added sugar in the ingredient list, it’s out.
Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And ideally, no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on. Again, read your labels.
Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy: soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy lecithin.
Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label, it’s out for the Whole30.
Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients.* Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is missing the point of the Whole30, and won’t lead to habit change. These are the same foods that got you into health-and-craving trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.
Do not step on the scale or take any body measurements for 30 days. The Whole30 is about so much more than weight loss, and to focus only on body composition means you’ll overlook all of the other dramatic, lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat, or breaking out the tape measure during the 30-day elimination period. (You may take photos and/or measurements on Days 0 and 31, however.)