After reading a couple of entries in this blog, you might ask yourself, “What the heck is the Whole30 anyway?”. Below is a quick overview of what it is, at least in my world.
What is it?
Whole30 is a 30-day program that aims to change your relationship with food and help you understand the benefits and positive reactions that come from eating a natural diet. It asks you not to eat foods that trigger negative hormone reactions or can cause havoc in your gut. Basically, it’s an attempt to bring your body back to how it’s meant to function, healing it after a lifetime (in my case!) of having to process food we’re not really meant to ingest. It’s set-up to go 30 days, but many people extend longer than that.
The diet is made up of whole foods, nothing processed. The guidelines call for minimal sugar, mainly only that found in whole fruit or whole fruit juice. If it comes in a wrapper or from one of the ‘inside lanes’ in the grocery store, it is most likely not compliant. It seems like it might be restrictive because of those limitations, but think about it. Is not eating chocolate chunk cookies or cheesey crackers made of whoknowswhatperservatives really something you want to be unhappy about?
I know, I know – chocolate chunk cookies and cheesy crackers are delicious! They are, but think about it – what’s going on ‘inside’ when you eat those? What’s the impact on your health, your moods, your mental acuity, your fitness, your digestive system? In essence, this is the goal of Whole30: to make you think about how you nourish your body in a more meaningful way. To encourage you to think more deeply about the choices you make when ingesting something and consider the impact it will have, both long-term and short-term.
What do I eat, when do I eat, how much do I eat?
The creators of Whole30, Dallas & Melissa Hartwig, have made the bulk of this program available for free, but there are add-ons you can pay for to help shape your experience. There are daily E-mails, E-books and regular books that you can sign-up to read or receive. These resources go a layer deeper into the program to provide structure and information about why the program exists and how you can make the most of it.
There is also a host of free information online (along with the program description). There is:
- The meal planning guide, telling you what your daily meals should look like
- Quick Start Guide, tells you how to plan for success over your program.
- Shopping List, a guide for what to buy (and what not to buy)
In an ideal world, you will eat three meals a day. No snacks. The rationale is that because you are eating foods that are full of nutrition, and because you’re not counting calories, you should be eating enough to keep you satiated until the next meal. (this doesn’t generally work for me, as I usually end up snacking a bit, but always on compliant food!).
That’s it in summary. The thing I lost track of the first few times I attempted this is that it’s really supposed to change your relationship with food. I was looking at it primarily from an ‘eat this, not that’ perspective, which misses the point. I’m trying to learn good habits and break a few bad ones, so you really need to ‘drink the Kool-aid’ if you want to be successful at the program.