You’ve heard of the Paleo diet, but what do you really know about the Whole30 plan? This diet gets a lot of reputation for being restrictive, sometimes to a pretty extreme amount, and some are conflicted about whether they can really give up so much. For anyone like me, food is one of life’s greatest pleasures … even I get nervous when I see a diet plan that says no cheese.
Before you make a judgment on this diet plan, let’s walk through the basics, how it works, the benefits, and any alternatives first. You may be surprised by what I discovered during my experience with the Whole30 Diet!
What Is The Whole30 Diet?
Similar to an elimination diet, the Whole30 takes a fairly large amount of food types from your diet that many people find to be “triggers” for their weight gain and health issues. It’s a short-term diet, lasting just 30 days long, but it’s intense enough that not everyone feels it’s entirely doable. By eliminating these types of foods for 30 days, you can start creating healthy eating habits, feel a lot better, and then get the chance to reintroduce potentially problematic foods slowly to find out what your body can or can’t handle.
What You Can’t Eat
I won’t lie to you – the list of don’ts is a lot! But it’s only for 30 days, and the diet itself is a nice little exercise in self-control. For a long time, food ruled me. After the Whole30, I realized a few of my food addictions really weren’t that satisfying anymore.
Here are the foods that are banned from the Whole30 diet plan:
- All dairy products. This includes cheese, sour cream, butter, and all other products containing dairy in any form.
- All grains. No rice, no wheat, not even quinoa is allowed!
- All sugars. Both real and artificial sugars are banned. You will need to limit your fruit intake.
- Alcohol. Say goodbye to the nightly glass of wine, and don’t try to use alcohol in your cooking either.
- Legumes. The big one here is soy and peanuts, but absolutely no legumes are allowed.
- Any processed food. Pretty obvious, right?
What You Can Eat
So, now that you have begun to feel like the Whole30 only allows you to survive off of nuts and seeds alone, let’s look at what this diet does let you eat. It won’t seem like a lot, but you have more options than you realize!
Approved foods for the Whole30 diet include:
- Vegetables. Cauliflower and zucchini became my best friends during the Whole30. Stock up on veggies!
- Limited fruits. Since sugar intake is frowned upon, you need to be careful about how much fruit you’re eating. Watermelon made a great snack for me.
- Unprocessed, lean meat. Avoid added sugars that are often found in products like sausage, and stick with organic sourced chicken!
- Lots of fish. Shellfish are also encouraged!
- Eggs. I had an egg every single day for breakfast, and sometimes I would put a hard-boiled on one of my salad at lunch, too. Lots of eggs!
How Does It Work?
Aside from feeling like a punishment, which goes away after the first few days, the Whole30 diet plan does a lot for your body and mind. Not only does it help you sort of “detox” from all the processed junk, sugar, and additives we overload our body with, it helps to retrain your bad habits. It’s restrictive to an extreme for a reason. Once that 30 days is over, you’re welcome to adjust the diet, bring in certain foods, and expand your horizons a little bit.
The banned food items on the diet are food that many people find trigger different bodily responses. Sometimes certain foods make it harder for us to lose weight, or make us lethargic, or cause mild allergic reactions where we become irritable and our bowels slow down. For 30 days, you eat entirely clean – it’s basically giving your whole body a fresh start, and kick-starts a weight loss or fitness plan into movement.
Are The Results Worth It?
With this diet, it’s pretty impossible not to lose weight! All of the food that is allowed is very low in calories naturally, but also extremely good for you. By staying true to the diet, you’ll find you have more energy for working out and being active, and the habitual nature of the Whole30 will curb your cravings and retrain your mental relationship with food.
The benefits aren’t limited only to weight loss, though that’s a big part of it. Truly, the whole goal of the diet is to give you a better understanding of which foods do what to your body, and you can learn what to avoid for good.
After The Diet Ends… What Then?
Start a food journal! Keeping a log of your progress is very important in any diet or fitness plan, but the Whole30 is very dependant on your individual response to food. After the Whole30 is up, there are no more “rules”… but you also don’t want to see your hard work go to waste, either.
Begin to allow some of the banned foods back into your diet slowly. One day, have some dairy and register how it made your stomach feel. Maybe stick with this addition for a couple of days, and check if it affected your weight loss progress. As you slowly begin to reintroduce foods one at a time and registering how they make you feel, you can find your “trigger foods”.
Doing this also helps you from the “diet come-down”, a horrible experience we’ve all suffered from. You know the drill – once the diet is up, it’s time to eat everything in sight!
Many people have compared the Whole30 diet to the paleo diet since many of the restricted foods are the same. However, the Whole30 goes an extra step by cutting out all sugars and leaves little wiggle room for modifying the diet.
Another major difference between the Whole30 diet and the paleo diet is that one is a temporary experiential journey, while the other is a lifestyle. If you want something more long-term and a bit modifiable, try the paleo diet!
Also Read- Unlock Your Hip Flexors Review 2019