Still, it was a tad depressing to watch my boyfriend eat whatever he wanted while I was on the sideline sipping tea. "I miss sharing food memories with you," he said at one point. Sigh. So the next day, we headed to a local brunch spot, and I ordered a Whole30–compliant dish from the menu. I got a bunless burger topped with a fried egg, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and onion plus a side salad instead of fries. Let me tell you, this bunless burger tasted like the juiciest thing I'd eaten in my entire life. After nearly two weeks of cooking every meal, it was nice to have someone else do it for me.
At CrossFit, some coaches refer to this as “Uncle Rahbdo,” though it’s not something funny or enjoyable. You can read all about the condition and issues it can cause here. This typically occurs with (primarily male) ex-athletes who have not exercised for a while and come back trying to prove something, and end up working at a higher intensity than their body can handle.
Eat low to moderate amounts of fruits and nuts. Try to eat mostly fruits low in sugar and high in antioxidants like berries as well as nuts high in omega-3, low in omega-6 and low in total polyunsaturated fat like macadamia nuts. Consider cutting off fruits and nuts altogether if you have an autoimmune disease, digestive problems or are trying to lose weight faster.
The paleo diet runs on the same foods our hunter-gather ancestors supposedly ate: fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and nuts. "By following these nutritional guidelines, we put our diet more in line with the evolutionary pressures that shaped our current genetics, which in turn positively influences health and well being," says Loren Cordain, PhD, professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University and author of The Paleo Diet. He says the diet lessens the body's glycemic load, has a healthy ratio of saturated-to-unsaturated fatty acids, increases vitamin and nutrient consumption, and contains an optimal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
The Whole30 program is only 30 days, but it’s a very restrictive 30 days. You’re urged to eat real, whole foods, including lots of veggies, while carving out things like sugar, grains and dairy. There is no “cheating” – even a chew of sugar-free gum or splash of skim milk in your coffee sends you right back to day one so the body can completely heal from inflammatory foods, diet co-creators Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig say.A couple things you don’t have to worry about on the Whole30 plan are counting calories and weighing or measuring yourself. In fact, the plan forbids the latter in order to bring participants’ attention to the benefits of healthy eating outside of weight loss. If you usually go out to eat or order take-out, you’ll need to learn to meal prep, grocery shop (with a plan!) and cook. If you’re a social butterfly, you’ll need to strategize how to order water and carrot sticks at the bar instead of beer and wings – or stay home. Fortunately, the program’s resources suggest solutions to these and other conundrums that may pop up. What’s more, the program’s strong emphasis on social – much of it virtual – support can keep participants inspired and accountable.The Whole30 program is outlined neatly online, where followers can read FAQs, lists of foods that are and aren’t off-limits and download a program guide. Melissa Hartwig’s latest book, “Food Freedom Forever: Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food,” details how to stay in control of food, rather than allowing it to control you, for a lifetime.
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.
While the diet as a whole hasn't been well studied, the benefits of cutting packaged foods from your diet could be huge. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, three quarters of the average American's sodium intake (which is almost double what it should be!) comes from commercially prepared foods. And, one Public Health Nutrition study found that people who cook at least five times a week are 47% more likely to be alive 10 years later compared to those who rely more on processed foods.
While founders Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig are adamant in their book and on their website that “you’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written,” the Whole30 is not for the lazy or noncommittal. Without careful planning, a strong support system and dogged dedication, a business lunch, flight delay or date night can throw you off and send you back to the start. By nature, diets that eliminate entire food groups are tough to follow. On the other hand, it’s only 30 days.
The main benefit of Whole30 though is to see how certain food groups affect your body. If you normally eat everything, you'll never really know if dairy may be making you bloated or if grains may be upsetting your stomach. By cutting out most of the food groups and processed foods for 30 days and slowly reintroducing them into your diet, you'll be able to spot which foods are doing what to your body.