I’ve been getting a million zillion questions about Whole30 ever since I mentioned I’m doing it this month. Mainly of the variety- what is it exactly and why are you doing it? So while I plan on doing a post after I’m done (this is my last week- wahoo! almost there) recapping how I felt, changes I saw, and all that jazz- I thought I’d attack the what and why now.
Whole30 is the program created by the company, Whole9. Whole9 is a holistic approach to health developed by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. The “9” in “Whole9” represent the 9 life factors that they believe will lead to optimal health. Not only are the Whole9 about eating right, but they’re about overall balance, wellness, and lifestyle.
You can read more about each individual one on their website, but here are the Whole9 in short:
- Healthy Movement
- Stress Management
- Natural Environment
- Personal Growth
Now, Whole30, is the thirty day program that focuses primarily on the first factor- nutrition. They developed the program to help people get started on a good path to living a Whole9 life. Its designed to get your nutrition on track so that you can better succeed in the other factors listed above. In their eyes, food is the foundation for good health.
The goal of the Whole30 is to eliminate all foods that may be having a negative psychological or physiological effect on how you look, feel and live.
If you buy their book, It Starts With Food, you’ll see that the Whole30 isn’t just a bunch of rules. There are a lot of lifestyle modifications that they suggest (eating three meals a day). But if you were going to look solely at the “food rules,” you’ll see that the Whole30 eliminates sugar of any kind, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, dairy, and things like carageenan, MSG, and sulfites. And you can’t “recreate” baked goods, junk food, or treats with “approved” ingredients (ex. pancakes, breads, etc.).They want you to focus on meat, seafood, veggies, healthy fats, and fruit. You can read the guidelines here.
When the thirty days are over, they don’t expect you to live as rigidly as you did during the program, but to take the new habits and mindset around food you developed with you for the rest of your life. If you ever feel like you need another reset in in life with how you’re eating, you can come back to Whole30 to refresh your nutrition goals.For me, first and foremost, I just like a challenge and having something to work toward. When I started eating healthier a few years ago, one of the biggest changes I made in my life was to just generally be more aware of what kind of food I was putting in my body. I’ve come a long way since that time, but sometimes I lose that awareness and go a little off track with how I’m eating. Which is fine- I’m human- we all do it- but the Whole30 for me was a way to reel things back in and remember the commitment I made to my health a few years ago.
It was also a way for me to appreciate the life I have and the things I get to do that I started to take advantage of and not see as special anymore like… wine on the weekends with friends, ice cream dates with Will on the couch, etc. Those things became commonplace and more like everyday things- losing their allure and causing me to crave something more indulgent. Now, I can’t even tell you how excited I am to have a margarita to celebrate getting through a hard week or to try a special dessert when I’m out. Those things are exciting again and not just mundane every day things that I’m constantly doing.
Also, I know I have a sweet tooth and slight sugar addiction. In the months of November and December I was eating sweets on sweets on sweets and incorporated some form of sugar into almost every meal. I knew I had gotten a little out of control- but I let myself go for it knowing it was the holidays and that I’d work to phase out these habits when I was ready. Come January, I was ready!
Lastly, I do still have a lot of digestive issues and I thought the Whole30 would be a good way to help me get back to the basics and restructure how I was building my meals to see if there was something I had been eating more of- that was negatively affecting my system.
I didn’t do it because I felt like I had to punish myself for over-indulging over the holidays or as a facade for extreme food control. I started it kind of unexpectedly because it just popped into my brain right before New Years and I think that’s because I finally felt like I could mentally handle it. I had only good intentions. I genuinely thought it would be a fun challenge and one that would benefit my health overall. And it has so far! And the whole thing hasn’t felt restrictive in any way. Sure, maybe I miss having a drink or chocolate every once and while, but 1) I know this is only for 30 days and 2) I’m still eating A TON of food all the time so it’s not like I’m hungry or anything.
I can’t wait to share with you guys how I’ve felt physically and mentally + all the things I’ve learned about my habits after next week when my own Whole30 is over!
I will say, good thing the Super Bowl falls on day one of the program being over. I’m going to want to enjoy some libations as I celebrate the patriots.
Keep it wicked healthy