Overall, my biggest Whole30 lesson is that mindful eating is possible. I don't have that urge to eat everything in sight, but I also know I don't need to deprive myself or worry about food 24/7. There's a happy medium where I get to decide what I really crave, weigh whether it's worth the bloat or restless sleep I might experience after eating it, and then say yes or no. I've caught myself thinking like this more, and so the ultimate goal of Whole30 has worked: I've changed my relationship with food—for the better.
Looking back on my lifestyle before the Whole30, my personal recipe for making unhealthy food choices typically consisted of being hungry and on a time crunch, which meant I'd choose whatever was most convenient (read: something overly processed from the vending machine). "Whole30 requires you to plan ahead, mainly so you stay 'compliant' and don’t go hungry," explains Liz McMahon, RDN. "Planning out meals and batch cooking ensures you have healthier food available and won’t constantly be reaching for fast food options." Making pre-planning a habit — even when I'm dining out — helps keep me on track even when I'm not following the Whole30.
The Whole30 book is the perfect thing to read while you’re visiting your in-laws or don’t feel like telling Aunt Sue for the 100th time what you do for a living. It’s helpful, it’s clear, and it will get you motivated. Want even more Whole30 recipes? Hartwig's latest Whole30 Cookbook may not have the nitty-gritty plan details, but the recipes are baller.
Sane people don't panic over pull-up techniques or rowing efficiency. They don't rush-ship a new, lighter jump rope ('cause yeah that'll fix it). They don't spend $20 each winter to see where in the CrossFit world they stack up (I placed 46,026th in the 2018 Open, right behind Tawnya Ruby of the U.S. and just ahead of Italy's Laura Manotta. (they've never heard of me either)).
I often get caught up in focusing on numbers and scales, so I decided not to officially weigh myself before or after Whole30. But I can attest that everything about my body just felt better. I know saying something like "I lost eleven pounds" would sound much more convincing, but I could see that my stomach was slimmer, as was my face (which is awkwardly the first place I gain weight).
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan gives a guided tour of 20th century food science, a history of "nutritionism" in America and a look at the marriage of government and the food industry. Then the book presents a commonsense shopping-and-eating guide, which like the paleo diet focuses on shopping the perimeter of the supermarket. He also now has a much shorter Food Rules: An Eater's Manual.
The NY Times had a blog article on Good News on Saturated Fat which is reporting on Gary Taubes's interpretation of the new report in The New England Journal of Medicine on a two-year diet experiment in Israel. A followup is the post The Fat Fight Goes On where Gary rebuts the arguments against the study. And here's a good interview with Taubes (and includes a good summary): Gary Taubes on Cold Fusion, Good Nutrition and What Makes Bad (and Good) Science.
One recent Saturday morning, I dragged myself to a CrossFit class at BRICK in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. It wasn’t a proper CrossFit class, but rather a variation called B | FIT, that incorporated CrossFit movements but focused more on high intensity interval training. I was disappointed to find I was the only one to show up in spandex tights, but I did notice a significant gay presence and the instructor was an adorable gay named Matthew.
You're not tracking calories. You won't feel hungry. You won't be eating based on a points system. You're going to miss your morning doughnuts, but this isn't like any diet you might be used to. Whole30 co-founder Melissa Hartwig actually doesn't like calling the Whole30 a "diet" at all. “Most diets are spent white-knuckling your way through deprivation, restriction, hunger, tuning out your body’s signals, and obsessing over tracking and weighing your food,” Hartwig says. She doesn't think that type of behavior is sustainable, and if you've ever tried dieting, you probably agree.
Trying to devise an ideal diet by studying contemporary hunter-gatherers is difficult because of the great disparities that exist; for example, the animal-derived calorie percentage ranges from 25% for the Gwi people of southern Africa to 99% for the Alaskan Nunamiut. Descendants of populations with different diets have different genetic adaptations to those diets, such as the ability to digest sugars from starchy foods. Modern hunter-gatherers tend to exercise considerably more than modern office workers, protecting them from heart disease and diabetes, though highly processed modern foods also contribute to diabetes when those populations move into cities.
As long as your salmon is low-mercury and wild (not farmed), you are doing your body good with this high- protein and fat combo. By consuming fat with protein, you give your body extra energy to break it down into amino acids – a key piece of daily digestion. This Whole30 recipe will set you up for smooth sailing the next day – so make it the night before your big morning meeting.
The Whole30 is not a diet, a weight-loss plan or quick fix – it’s designed to “change your life,” the founders say, by eliminating cravings, rebalancing hormones, curing digestive issues, improving medical conditions and boosting energy and immune function. The theory behind it is that all sorts of physical and mental health issues – ranging from acne to depression to allergies – could be due to your diet. But you can’t know which foods are to blame for what ails you unless you cut out all traces of sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes for 30 days. By day 31, you’ll be free from your food fog and may not even miss your nightly wine ritual or morning muffin fix. If and when you reintroduce food groups, your body’s reaction will tell you which foods you should continue to avoid – or at least limit.
The Open is the single largest participatory test of fitness on the planet. And it all begins at your local box. What’s special about the Open is that it pushes all of us to dig deeper and to do better than we ever thought we could. It’s an empirical test against a standard applied to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world. That’s an invaluable challenge for each of us as athletes and as human beings. For those who don’t see the inherent and unambiguous value in such an examination of self and community, no amount of convincing will suffice. If you’re not in the Open, you’re missing out.
But eventually — probably on day 33 — I started to experiment. First came eating ketchup ... no side effect. Next, I had some red wine ... a slight hangover the next day, but nothing like I used to experience when indulging in sugary cocktails. Then, I added gluten ... and my body officially freaked out. I broke out in a rash and hives all over my scalp, neck, and legs which lasted for a few days. I decided to try eating gluten again after the rashes went away to make sure, and sure enough, I woke up the next day to ... more rashes.
"CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program, but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of 10 recognized fitness domains," says founder Greg Glassman in the Foundations document. Those domains are cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.