What Is Whole 30?
Terms like “Paleo,” “Raw” and “Fresh” seem to be used by the hipster/trendsetter crowd because it’s cool. In my mind, it’s simply choosing to be more thoughtful about what types of foods you eat. By decreasing the number of processed foods I eat, I am detoxifying my body and getting more nutrients to the right places. The goal with the Whole 30 Diet is to eat more raw foods or ones without preservatives or additives.
Proteins are the major staple of this diet. Your best bet is free range, organic; no steroid injected protein. It costs a little bit more at the store to get your meat, fish, pork, chicken or seafood without the normal mechanisms that are used to process on an assembly line, but it tastes amazingly better and is easier to digest and breakdown in your body.
Fruits and Vegetables are equally important, as they are used for snacking, as well as accompaniment for your main entrees. Farmers Markets are my main source for these items, but going to your local Whole Foods, Trader Joes or Sprouts will work. The thing I try to avoid is to produce that has been shipped from a long distance. For that to happen, pesticides and preservatives are added before they are shipped in cold storage trailers. Talking to the local produce employee is never a bad thing and knowing where your produce is shipping from is just good common sense.
Sugars need to be severely reduced. In a Utopian world, sugar would be completely cut out of the diet. Realistically, like most anything in life, having an occasional treat or something sweet is not a bad thing. A common mistake that most of us make is that we think we have to cut something out 100% or not at all. Reducing the number of times you have sugar would be a noble goal to achieve. Reading your food labels is an important step towards combatting sugar overload.
[note: Coconut Sugar, Maple Syrup, Honey and Agave Nectar are not your friends. Neither is Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, Xylitol or Stevia.]
Alcohol is something that should be in major moderation. If you are known for consuming a large quantity of alcohol on a daily, or even weekly basis, seriously explore ways to cut back. No one is expecting you to drop alcohol “cold turkey,” but minimalizing the quantity you consume can only help. Sure, alcohol helps thin the blood. The problem is that you don’t need an entire bottle, 6-pack or case of it to get that task completed. Ease up on the alcohol, and that will help you achieve your dietary goals.
Grains are not recommended in the Whole 30 Diet. As the gluten allergy becomes more prevalent in our society, easing off of grains is something I can tolerate. 100% out of my diet is an unrealistic expectation, but eating it with Sushi or Asian cuisine isn’t out of the question.
Grains you should avoid are:
Wheat, Rye, Barley, Oats, Corn, Rice, Millet, Bulgur, Sorghum, Amaranth, Buckwheat, Sprouted Grains, Gluten-Free Grains and Quinoa
Legumes? One of my favorite comfort foods is hummus. I only discovered it after moving to Los Angeles in 2012. Knowing that hummus has existed for so long makes me bitter towards my home state of Oklahoma and the lack of knowledge about these wonderful concoctions. Legumes include chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), peanuts, lentils, all beans and all peas. Peanut Butter is definitely out of the question.
Alternatives to butter might be Almond or Cashew Butter. Some people think that Nutella or Speculoos Cookie Butter are acceptable. You want the consistency of the original Peanut Butter, but not all of the intense sugar flavors.
Soybeans are also considered a legume, and this takes the highly addictive edamame, out of the equation, for me. This boils down to no soy milk or soy sauce, either. It seems like this diet has a lot of rules, but it’s a few simple tweaks that will get you back on your feet. If you focus on not eating packaged foods and think every time before you order, that’s a significant part of the puzzle. Drinking water is another important piece.
Dairy Substitutes is another area that most people have trouble finding their alternatives. Ideally, Soy Milk would be an alternative, but since it’s based on the soy bean, it’s out. Almond Milk is my preferred escape route, around consuming milk.
Potatoes seem to be a topic of controversy within the health and fitness community. Last year, a friend told me that white potatoes were not a part of the diet, but that sweet potatoes were fair game. The hypothesis was that the molecular makeup of a sweet potato is easier to digest in one’s system than that of a white potato.
All I have read, lately, is that any form of potato is a part of the Whole 30 Diet and not on the excluded list. Now I can have one of my favorite lunch delicacies of a white potato with a pinch of salt and some meat on the top. Cold weather for me means hearty stews and soups to keep me warm.
I hope that the information in this article will be of some use to you, should you consider giving Whole 30 a try. As I delve deeper into this routine, I’ll write more information regarding this diet, as I seem to learn new things about it on a daily basis.