I sit here drinking black coffee, hating life. No creamer, no stevia, nothing… Just Black. Okay, I don’t hate life, more bothered that my sweet caramel colored coffee is no more. A couple weeks ago I gave up creamer. Today I give up sweetener of any kind, including stevia. Why? Today is the first day of the next 30. I am giving the Whole 30 a run for it’s money. Over the years I have experimented, prescribed, and implemented a number of diet strategies. As I get older and with recent events in my life, I have shifted from a less performance/results driven strategy to a more health/vitality approach to my own personal life. I have joked that the goal was to become a full blown “Meagan” ⎯ a meat eating vegan. Trying to build a life around fresh whole foods only, made up of raw vegetables, little fruit, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. As I slowly get better and better, along comes the Whole 30.
The Whole 30 is a new diet trend, that I dont even like calling a trend. It’s not really even a diet. It is the first thing I have seen that truly is a lifestyle nutrition plan. There is no product dependency, there is no shake to rely on, there is no counting calories, no calculating macros, just clean healthy food. So here’s the skinny (pun intended).
Yes: Eat real food.Eat moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables; some fruit; plenty of natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.
No: Avoid for 30 days.More important, here’s what not to eat during the duration of your Whole30 program. Omitting all of these foods and beverages 100% for 30 days will help you eliminate cravings, restore a healthy metabolism, heal the digestive tract, reduce systemic inflammation, and discover how these foods are truly impacting how you look, how you feel, and your quality of life.
- Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, 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 ideally, 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, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. 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 like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
- 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 consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients. Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-breaks (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is totally missing the point of the Whole 30, and will compromise your life-changing results. These are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it is made with coconut flour.
Here is where I really like this program ⎯ The no recreating of foods in “healthy” alternatives. I have found myself over the years compromising my beliefs many times with clients to try and make “healthy treats”, faux sweets, and more. It serves no purpose. It’s like when I see a vegan who consumes nothing but mock meat dishes. Highly processed foods with paragraphs of ingredients are not healthy just because they have a “V” stamped on the package.
This same premise goes for protein pancakes, donuts, cookies, ice cream, or anything else you want to put protein in front of. I have been guilty of this myself. As stated before my focus has shifted to health over aesthetics. The point of the Whole 30 is to change your lifestyle, not to mask the same lifestyle in a cloak of simulated health. I think that’s the key here. Health vs Healthier. You should be making choices focused on “health” and not on options that are “healthier.” Let me put to you like this, when acting like Teen Wolf and surfing on your minivan at 50mph, it’s “safer” to have something to hold on to but it’s not “safe.” Eating the healthier option of something doesn’t make it healthy. So, don’t lie to yourself. Don’t mislead yourself. If you are honest with you, the the options that are healthy, and not healthier, are easy to spot.
I once looked at my own health and fitness journey as a path to look and feel amazing, with an emphasis on – look. I now don’t care if I look average, just as long as I continue to look average well into my 90’s. Longevity and vitality is the new name of the game. I would definitely consider myself a health and fitness minded individual, but I want to open up about some health and digestive issues I have had over the years. I’ve had stays in the hospital, tests, samples, blood work, all done to try and pinpoint some of the stomach and digestion issues I have had. IBS, Crohn’s, and other worse conditions have all been looked at with no avail. For me, I feel it all boils down to inflammation, and determining what those causes are for me. Aches, pains, energy, gut health, skin complexion, all are affected by our diet. I’m determined to live the best life I can, and I know what I put in my body is going to be one of the biggest factors in doing so.
Day 01 is coming to a close and I have had my regular morning routine smoothie with kale, carrots, cucumber, mango, flax meal, chia seeds, aloe, and coconut water. In addition to daily vitamins and probiotics. I have two meals of whole eggs and egg whites with spinach, garlic and red onion. I also add turmeric and other spices. Tonight is grass fed sirloin, sweet potato, and broccoli. So, I invite you to come along with me this next month for the Whole 30 challenge, as I tackle a range of topics like grocery store produce, whole grains, nightshade vegetables, dietary lectins and more. Looking forward to the next 30 days, comment below for any topic you would like me to cover and sign up for the #MondayMindset newsletter.