Get Healthy in 30 Days on the Whole 30 (What is the Whole 30?)
Grrrr. That scale. Oh, how I hate it. In fact, I have avoided it like the plague for a very long time---about a year now, at least. And I know...when I get on that thing? It's going to make me feel awful. So why am I doing it now? Because it's time for a complete body reset. And that's why I'm completing my second Whole30! I'm actually on Day 3 right now!
What is the Whole30? It's a complete reset of your psychology and physical body around food. That's the simple answer.
According to the creators of the Whole30, "It's not hard. Beating cancer is hard. Having a baby is hard." Plus, some other things....but completing a Whole30 is not hard---well, I am sure they mean in comparison to those other "truly" hard things. But, my friends, I'm just going to tell you: The Whole30 IS hard. I don't have a single friend (except my husband) who will complete it with me.
The Whole30 is difficult because you are breaking patterns and habits and changing your body's chemistry in that short period of time. It's a MENTAL thing for sure. And if you are addicted to sugar---well, I'll just say, that for many folks, it's a PHYSICAL thing too.
Besides the one successful Whole30 I completed WAY last summer, I've attempted two others. I started, then I quit. But now, it is seriously time for another Whole30. No excuses. And, this time, I'll do a weekly check-in with you in the form of a short blog post for the weeks during Mr. V.'s and my current Whole30.
Note: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article. If you click through and make any kind of purchase, I will receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping support Healing Harvest Homestead-- Heidi
Here is What Happened to Me After a Successful Whole30
Last summer, over a year ago, I am proud that I completed one Whole30. It was awesome! Well, it was awesome at the end, when it was over--and maybe about halfway through. Here's what happened in that 30 day period on last year's Whole30:
1) I lost 12 pounds without counting calories or trying to eat less
2) That weight came off without me feeling hungry!
3) The first week, I felt like doo-doo, but then I felt AMAZING the rest of the month
4) My skin glowed
5) My sleep was INCREDIBLE
6) My poor heart--always a tad high in the blood pressure area---completely normalized
7) I could see better---I kid you not!
8) I gained a sense of pride for sticking with it for the whole 30 days!
9) Finally. I was motivated to work out! Because I FELT better!
My husband and I are once again starting another Whole30. Actually, we started two days ago. And--it's going really well this time!
My goal this time around is to lose 15 pounds and get back into a work-out regimen that is consistent. Doesn't sound like much, right? Well, I'm sorry. It is. For this 53 year old, slightly out of shape, slightly chubby lady, it is. I really want to start working out again. I'm planning on some cardio---but maybe you have some ideas? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
The 8 Rules of the Whole30 (And Why They Work!)
What is The Whole30?
It is a way to reset your psychology with food, the health of your body, and therefore see some positive changes in both mind and body. It's a 30 day program, and all you need to do is follow the rules. It was created by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, and the companion book is It Starts with Food.
Although you don't need the book to complete a Whole30, I recommend you take a look at both the Whole30 book and It Starts with Food. Having, reading, and rereading these two books helped me stick to it. It Starts with Food goes into the science behind why the Whole 30 works, and The Whole30 goes into more of the how the Whole 30 works, plus has tons of ideas for preparing your food.
What Can You Eat on the Whole30?
Let me first say, before I start on the things you can't have on this reset plan, that there are a LOT of great things you CAN have! Here they are!
- Meat (without any of the bad additives, like nitrates or sugars)
- Natural fats (olive oil, ghee, duck fat)
Before I start the rules rundown, you must know that if you "slip up" or break (even accidentally) any of the rules during the 30 day period, it's strongly recommended you start it over again from Day 1. I know that sounds harsh! But I kind of have to agree because once you make an "OOPS," it's easier to make another "OOPS" and excuse it every single time after that. Plus, having to start at square one makes it kind of like a game, right?
What are the Whole 30 Rules?
1) NO Sugar!
This sounds like it might be fairly easy, right? We all know that cane sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, glucose and high fructose corn syrup would count.
However, food manufacturers have devised some truly sneaky ways of adding sugars into our foods.
There are all kinds of scientific-sounding names for sugars! How about Polysaccharides? How about Galactose? (Love that name, even though the stuff is terrible!) How about Sorbitol? There's a HUGE list of sugars, artificial sugars, and chemicals that are actually sugars and are absolutely NOT allowed on the Whole30.
Here's an example: My husband brought home some guacamole that is handmade by the grocery store deli! We love this stuff! First off---and at first glance, it seems perfectly legit! But check this out!
This is why reading labels is VITAL for you to do a successful Whole30! Dextrose, an ingredient in Fruit Fresh, is NOT allowed! Not even a tiny little smidgeon!
As you can see, sugar is sneaky. Who knew dextrose is a sugar? So, to help you KNOW FOR SURE if that weird sounding chemical on the label is a sneaky sugar, here is the Whole30 Sneaky Sugar PDF. Just print it out!
It's an eye-opener, and I suggest you take a look at it! You'll be amazed. I actually printed it out and had it with me when I went shopping the first couple of weeks. I'll be doing that again this time around!
So, if any sugar is in any type of thing, it's OFF limits. Not even healthy raw honey. Not even Sriracha with that tiny bit of cane sugar. Nope.
You know what, though? Going without sugar, once you get used to it, isn't that hard! The spices you use in your cooking WAY more than make up for the sugary taste that most processed foods are drowning in.
If you're like me, once you finish a Whole30, you won't even want sugary things!
2) No Alcohol in Any Way
This one kind of goes without saying. Unfortunately. I do love my glass of wine, and hubby loves his brew! Anyhow, it's a no-go for at least the next 30 days!
I just want to say a bit about the psychology of the Whole30, here. When I did my first Whole30 last summer, kicking my daily glass of wine (or two) was REALLY hard! And I don't HAVE to have it, either. It's just that for me, it was psychologically a way to let my brain know it could relax and turn off...that it was time to chill out...that everything was just fine (even if it wasn't). I don't know if I'm explaining that very well. Bottom line: It had become a powerful psychological habit.
But after I gave some really good reflection to my need to have this daily glass (or two), I realized it was more about my head than anything else. So, for awhile, I substituted with Kombucha or Kefir. Then I realized I didn't need that either. It's a pretty freeing process, I have to say. And I'm looking forward to that part of the Whole30 again!
3) No Grains
NONE! This cuts out any form of wheat, rye, barley, corn, oats, millet, bulgur, sprouted grains, and even "pseudo" grains such as quinoa or amaranth. And anything "bran," "germ," or "starch" is included here. Rice is also NOT allowed. Bummer. I love rice.
What to do instead? Cauliflower rice became our friend, during the Whole30.
4) No Legumes
You know--any kind of a bean, including chickpeas, peanuts (yes, peanuts are a legume), peas, or lentils, in addition to the typical bean we always think of. This also means no peanut butter.
And a special mention goes to soy! Food manufacturers pretty much put some type of soy (and it's generally GMO) in everything these days. So you must read those labels! If you see "soy lecithin" or "soybean oil," or "soy protein..." then it's not for you on this plan! This also cuts out tofu, tempeh, miso, soy sauce, and edamame.
5) No Dairy
This is where I just wanted to cry the first time I read through these rules. I LOVE cheese! I have been guilty of pounding my way through a whole block of cheese in one day! Gulp! Give up my cheese?
Yep. You gotta do it.
This also includes milk of any kind, butter, cream, kefir, yogurt, and sour cream.
Ghee is an exception, because it is clarified butter. The milk solids are mainly removed in the process, making it just fine. The Whole30 book has directions on how to make your own ghee, too! Ghee can be found in good health stores (Sprouts, Whole Foods), and you can even purchase it on etsy!
6) No Special Chemicals
This includes Carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites. These sneaky devils are in far more products than you'd think! I don't even know what they do, except that they are BAD news! You can research more on these if you want. The Whole30 Book goes into much more detail.
But, pretty much, this means, "No processed foods." Time to cook from Scratch! Yeah!
7) No Using Approved Ingredients to Mimic Treats
So, you can't use almond flour, nut butters, etc. to make yourself a cookie that meets Whole30 standards. At first, this seemed strange to me, but after doing the Whole30 last summer, it totally made sense.
See, there is a LOT of psychology going on with your food. More than you even realize! More than you can comprehend! Eating things like cookies, breads, and ice creams provide a lot of emotional comfort! So the premise behind this rule is to break the psychological bonds that some foods have on our minds.
It really works, by the way. It does. At least it sure did for me last summer!
However, with that said---I may just be bending this rule a bit this time around. You see, our garden is producing finally, and I have GOT to do some things with all the zucchini....like zucchini bread, paleo and Whole30 compliant style. Not sure how I'm going to do this yet---but I'll figure out a way. Like substitute dates for the sugar, perhaps?
8) No Checking Up on Your Progress
OK--That sounds like a weird rule, but follow me here. You are allowed to weigh yourself when you first start, and take measurements too. But after that, you are NOT supposed to weigh in or measure for the rest of the Whole30 days!
I think this is because this plan is NOT actually supposed to be a diet. It's a major reset of your entire system. If you happen to lose weight...great! If not, well, then your body is a lot healthier. I think the Hartwigs don't want people to get frustrated if changes are small and just give up. Plus, some people see the greatest return on their efforts in the last days of the Whole30.
With that said, as I gear up to do this again, I plan to weigh in once a week. Because weight loss is actually a goal when I complete this Whole30, I'm breaking this rule. I think these check ins will be encouraging for me.
We'll find out!
How to Eat on the Whole30
It's so simple. That's one of the big pluses to this plan.
- Eat three meals a day
- Eat a palm-size piece of protein (men will eat more because their hands are bigger) with each meal
- Fill the rest of your plate up with vegetables and a little fruit if you want
- Use healthy oils with each meal--just a bit.
- Eat all the spices you want
- Drink lots of water. Coffee and tea are fine too.
That's it! Easy! Right?
Final Thoughts on the Whole30 Rules
There's only eight rules!
But there's a LOT packed into those rules. Now, it seems like it's a pretty prohibitive plan, and it is. However, if you put your shopping and meal plans together, are mentally committed, and have explained to people in your life what it is and why you are doing this, then you'll find it's not that bad!
About halfway into my first Whole30, I became amazed at all the actual REAL foods I could eat, and they were delicious! Amazing, actually! If you give this a try, I think you'll find, like I did the first time around, that it's actually a relief not having to walk into those middle aisles of the store where all the garbage food is. It's empowering to actually make your own meals using real whole foods!
By the way, here are some articles on eating fermented foods, which are GREAT on the Whole30! Check them out if you are interested in some natural probiotic goodness: What is Fermentation, Ferment Those Baby Zucchini, How to Make Fermented Hot Sauce (and many more on the website).
I love comments! Have you ever done the Whole 30 or wanted to? Is there something holding you back? I'd love to hear what you think, so leave a comment!
Hugs, Self-Reliance...and Health,
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