This is a short term, 30 day program that eliminates certain food groups from your diet that could be having a negative impact on your health. You are not eliminating the foods because they are all unhealthy, but rather as an action to allow your body to heal and recover back to it’s original settings”. After the 30 days, the program encourages you to strategically add the different food groups back in one by one and evaluate how your body reacts. This is specifically how I found my intolerance to sugar and many dairy products. It’s hard to know what is triggering things like headaches, and other reactions when we are constantly feeding our bodies an array of items. It’s all about getting back to basics and is only 30 days.
Whole30 also encourages resets. I frequently do a 7-10 day reset after traveling or weekends that involve a lot of restaurant meals. This just allows me to keep my body balanced. I would encourage you to complete a full Whole30 if this is your first time trying the program. The Whole30 can be challenging, and there is such thing as the “Whole30 Hangover” around day 10 when your body is in remission from all the sugars and junk. It’s real, but again it’s only 30 days and you can use many of the delicious recipes from my site to ease the pain.
- Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
- Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
- Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
- Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
- Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
- Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
- Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” Remember, these are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients.
The Paleo approach to eating is very similar to Whole30 in that it has you eating real, whole, nutrient-dense foods that are healthful rather than harmful.
- Do not consume artificial Sweeteners- Unlike Whole30, Paleo allows for natural sweetners like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, stevia and a few others.
- Do not consume alcohol .
- Do not eat grains.
- Do not eat legumes. Fresh Green beans and green peas can be consumed in moderation
- Do not eat dairy. Some Paleo experts say Grassfed butter, yogurt or Whole milk are allowable.
The key is everything in moderation and listening to your body. I grew up in Iowa so I love me a good patio beer and now that I live in Colorado with more breweries per capita than any other state, no one can deprive me of a good beer while sitting outdoors. My boyfriend and I live for trying new restaurants but we try to limiting our restaurant meals to 3 a week. Eating at home all week allows us to look forward to going out on the weekends. I treat myself when we go out, but the more your practice with understanding the clean eating lifestyle, the easier it is to continue to make good decisions even when eating outside the home.
Lastly, do what works for you. Whole30 rules are black and white for short period of time but Paleo and other clean eating diets can be what you make them. Understanding the core concepts can help you create a diet that fits your lifestyle and needs. There is no one in control but you.