Whole30 – The Elimination Diet
If you are looking at a hardcore diet plan to detox and reset your whole system, you should check out Whole 30!
Whole 30 is an elimination diet designed for the core objective of cutting out all foods that might have a negative impact on your health. This diet has been around since 2009 and has steadily gathered steam over the years.
The founder, Melissa Hartwig, kick-started this regimen with her 30-day life-changing dietary experiment. Since then, thousands, if not millions, have transformed their habits, health, and relationship with food.
What do people look forward to when they dive in Whole30?
- Eliminate Cravings
- Raise Your Energy and Stamina
- Improve Sleep
- Relieve Symptoms Caused by Medical Conditions
- Lose Weight in a Healthy, Sustainable Manner
- Rebuild Your Relationship with Food
- More Effective Workouts
- Discover Which Foods Make Us Feel like Crap!
Some or all of these foods we regularly consume could be having a negative impact on your life and health without you even realizing it. The symptoms that show up could be something anyone would easily ignore.
Typical issues include:
- Low Energy Levels
- Mild Pains
- Skin Conditions
- Digestive Issues
- Mild Allergies
- Trouble Losing Weight
While there could be a thousand reasons for these symptoms to show up, a “healthy diet” or the lack of it, could also be one of the contributing factors. So how do you find out if the foods are causing all the trouble or something else?
Simple! Elimination. Eliminate these food groups from your diet and try to see the kind of impact it has on the body. So how do we arrive at which foods to eliminate?
Here is a breakdown of characteristics to look out for
- Foods that trigger cravings
- Foods that disrupt blood sugar levels
- Foods that damage the gut
- Foods that result in various forms of inflammations
Here, we arrive at the usual suspects: Sugar. Grains. Dairy. Legumes. Alcohol and any other stimulants.
So what does the list look like?
Before we jump into the specific foods, there are some pointers to keep in mind:
1. For starters, ‘Eat Real Food’. Not the processed junk you find on shelves.
2. Balance Your Meal. Include moderate proportions of meat, seafood, and eggs. Make sure to eat lots of vegetables, plenty of natural fats, as many herbs and spices as possible.
3. Eat foods with very few ingredients or, better yet, no ingredients listed at all. Eat them as whole and unprocessed as possible.
What you must totally avoid during the Whole 30 days!
1. Sugar and Added Sweeteners: It does not matter if it is real sugar or some lab synthesized Frankenstein sugar. You avoid it at all costs. This includes maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, and whatever else you can think of as a replacement for sugar.
2. Zero Alcohol. Zero Stimulants: Through the 30 days, you have to stay away from alcohol in any form. Not even cooking. Also, no tobacco. And definitely no mary-jane!
3. No Grain: This includes wheat, rye, corn, rice, millet, oats, bulgur, sorghum, and sprouted grains. This includes all other gluten-free pseudo-cereals such as chia, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth as well. Besides the grains themselves, this also includes any product having the slightest whiff of their flours! And its byproducts like bran, germ, starch, etc.
4. No Legumes: This may come as a shocker to many. But legumes too, have had their fair share to play in creating favorable spaces for illnesses to take root. So legumes would include all kinds of beans – red, black, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava etc. Peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts out too. Yup, not peanut butter either! Also, Soybean, soy sauce, tofu, miso, tempeh, edamame, and other soy-containing products. All of these soy products contain lecithin. This is an anti-nutrient that prevents the digestive tract from functioning normally.
5. No Dairy: That includes goat, sheep, cow milk, and their derivatives. No yogurt. No cheese. No kefir. No sour cream. And definitely no ice cream.
7. No Baked Foods or Junk Food: Steer clear of the commercially prepared chips and french fries. If you were thinking you were going to recreate all of your junk using “healthy” alternatives, you have totally missed the point of this detox. These are the foods that have messed up your health in the first place. The brain does not really know the difference between an almond flour brownie and the regular brownie; it just craves sugar. And giving in to that craving would mean you are back in the same loop with new ingredients. More than the Dos and Dont’s, this rule finds its place in rebuilding your relationship with your food.
You get the idea, even if the foods are not listed here. Use your best judgment.
The Whole30 mantra – When in doubt, leave it out
One Last Rule that is not officially listed but makes a massive difference to your experience. Do not step on the scale or take any body measurements for 30 days. Only because this diet is much more than just losing weight. The focus is to look at the overall composition of the body.
Our constant obsession with weight makes us ignore all the awesome life-changing processes that this diet offers. You could, at most, check your weight before starting the fast and then after completing it. This is only so that you have some tangible numbers for your own reference.
What is on the Yes list?
- Vegetables: Endless options here. You can gorge on them without a second thought.
- Fruits: No restriction here!
- Fats: Grab an Avocado!
- Meat: Yes hamburger. Yes, patties. No buns.
- Poultry: Catch that chicken by the leg!
- Fish: Preferably fresh.
A lot of people wonder, why 30 days?
It takes about 66 days for a habit to stick. But if we told someone to stick to this plan for that long, they would chicken out immediately. Hartwig says, 30 days is long enough to see results but also not so long that you would be afraid to start. However, some people may also incorporate other tools in order to help them stay on track. Ombre offers a Gut Health Test that provides food recommendations that can be filtered down to the Whole30 diet so you can stick to a game plan and be successful.
Some exceptions to the Whole 30 rules
1. Ghee or Clarified Butter: This is the only dairy product that is allowed to sneak in. Plain old butter did not make the cut only because here the milk proteins affect the results.
2. Fresh Fruit Juices without added sweeteners.
3. Certain Legumes like green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are allowed. This is because these are pods more than beans. And green plant matter is always good for you.
4. All Forms of Vinegar: This includes red and white wine, balsamic, apple cider, and rice wine. Malt vinegar is out because it contains gluten.
5. Coconut Aminos are in as long as they are made from coconut nectar.
6. Salt: Didn’t expect this one did you!? Well, this one is quite a twist. Sugar is often added to salt, did you know that? This is done to keep the potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost. So salt is on the list of exceptions though it has some sugar in it only because many of the brands use salt as a preservative. And cutting out salt-sugar would really leave nothing on the shelf that you could get your hands on.
7. Coffee!! Yup, that one is still on the yes list. You can opt for the non-dairy black coffee or the unsweetened carrageenan-free milk. Lifesaver!
How to Do Whole30
Through the course of the 30 Days make sure everything you buy is organic. Try to ensure that all the meat is grass-fed, pastured, and local. Do this straight for 30 days! Something that really works wonders is having the right company while doing this kind of diet. If you could partner with a friend and touch base with one another each day, things would become a lot easier for both of you.
The only way you see the results on the Whole30 is if you stick your neck out all 30 days. That is without any cheats, slips, or ‘special celebrations’. This is an elimination diet. Even a small amount of inflammatory foods can break the healing cycle. It will trigger cravings, mess up blood sugar levels, disrupt the digestive tract, and, most importantly, short-circuit the immune system.
All it takes is one bite of a pizza to throw things off-balance. One lick of the spoon which you used to mix your batter, and you have hit reset. You start this game all over, and it is Day 1 again. Doing anything less than the whole 30 days, you won’t experience the full benefits. Do not settle for anything less! Your perfect health experience is only 30 days away. Go grab it!