So what does that mean?
It’s a clean eating plan that requires that you cut out processed foods and focus on real food. So… Pretty similar to my 10 day Detox Cleanse in November. One thing to note is that this is not intended as a lifestyle – It’s a dietary reset that you do for 30 days which is intended to help adjust your habits and start you on a healthier path. The plan means primarily whole foods, which is great, but it also means cutting out my bars and protein powders, which are a pretty big chunk of my daily protein intake.
What to avoid:
- Sugar in all of its glorious forms, including but not limited to – Maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, stevia, and brown rice syrup. Womp womp.
- No alcohol – Probably a good idea anyway. I’m in.
- No grains – Here’s where it gets tricky. I’m going to cut wheat (duh), corn, rice, rye, barley, millet bulgar, amaranth etc.
- No legumes – Again, here’s where the vegetarian who needs protein will be deviating from the plan. I will cut out peanuts, tempeh, and lecithin. BUT I am going grant myself permission to eat tofu, edamame, kidney, garbanzo, and black beans, as well as raw cashews, almonds, and walnuts.
- No dairy – Easy peasy
- No processed foods, prepared food, or baked goods even if they’re “healthy” – Just stick to food you prepare yourself or whole foods you can snack on. That’s do-able so long as you prepare in advance and this makes good sense to me. The whole goal is to reset your habits, so going from store-bought cookies to cookies made with coconut flour, doesn’t change your patterns at all.
In summary – Eat real foods.
Nothing processed and if it comes in a package, read the label. The big changes for me are going to be cutting out sugar and cutting out my protein powders and bars, which are a big source of protein for me. The other thing that means is that I need to be prepared! My bars are the ultimate “I have no time to eat” fix, so I’ll need to be better prepared this month.
Figuring out what you can and can’t eat is the hardest part. Starting midweek also meant less in the way of preparation and planning since I didn’t get around to doing meal prep that Sunday.
And unfortunately, on day two of my Whole 30, I got chosen to be a juror for a multi-week trial, throwing me completely off of my routine while simultaneously trying to grapple with the Whole 30.
By this time I’d gotten into the rhythm of preparing my food for the day and bought an insulated lunch box to take to work/court with me. I was eating breakfast at the office before heading to the court-house each day, eating lunch on the steps of the capital building, and then having dinner at home.
Week two ended with a big life change and the celebrating continued off and on for the rest of the month. Unfortunately that means that I cheated on my Whole 30 with champagne a few times. I kept going with the food and picked up where I’d left off each day, but there were a few days of alcohol thrown into the 30 days.
By the last week of Whole 30 I was counting down the days. Not because it was overly challenging to maintain, but because (1) I was bored with eating the same things over and over, and (2) I missed the flexibility and options available in my non-Whole 30 diet. The constant food prep and being unable to simply “grab” food was a bit tiring.
Final thoughts – This is the second or third time that I’ve done the Whole 30 and it achieved the same thing. It’s an amazing wake-up call. By cutting out entire food groups and really focusing on what you’re putting in your body, you’re made PAINFULLY aware of how much crap you usually eat.
I eat an exceptionally clean diet to begin with, but I do rely on bars and protein powders to supplement my plant-based diet. Part of that is the ease, part is trying to hit my macros each day. But, on Whole 30, I couldn’t eat any of my vegan/gluten-free bars or powders because they all had small amounts of organic stevia. The other place that I saw as a problem area is bottled sauces and dressings. It would appear that I’ve gotten lazy, and when something hits my vegan and gluten-free requirements, I haven’t read all of the nutritional information.
Gong forward I’m going to keep small amounts of stevia in my diet, but I’m going to be much more aware of what’s in the bottled dressings that I’m buying at the store.
Have YOU ever done the Whole 30?