Since I started Whole30, it’s opened up a ton of discussion with people around me. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog. I thought I’d talk about some of the questions that I keep getting asked regarding Whole30 and this new lifestyle of mine. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them there for everyone to read.
Who is Whole30 for? I truly believe it’s for everyone, health issues or not. You could be like me and be perfectly fine eating anything and everything and suddenly one day BOOM! you have chronic constipation that won’t go away. Or you could have other health issues that you’ve dealt with your whole life: acne, anxiety, asthma, bloating, diverticulitis, eczema, infertility, migraines, etc. Practical Paleo has a list of more than 50 conditions that are caused by chronic inflammation (caused by the foods we eat that are inflammatory). I’m happy to look yours up in the book if you don’t have access to it. I’m not going to go into all of the details about systemic/chronic inflammation in this post but you can look in the books I’ve referenced for a clear explanation. Nobody is immune to inflammation, so it is important for everyone to understand what foods bring inflammation and why to avoid them.
So what do you eat? Lots of things! I eat a lot and I’m always satisfied until the next meal. Snacking was virtually nonexistent during the 30 days because I was always full and didn’t want to eat extras. Here is a good shopping list for all of the things that are allowed during Whole30. There are tons of fabulous resources here as well. You can see some of the recipes I’ve tried on my Pinterest board (please know that some are not Whole30 compliant, but are Paleo). The book It Starts With Food has some recipes in the back as well. Some of my favorite foods while on the program are the following:
- salmon cooked in coconut oil on the stovetop with coconut aminos (tastes like soy sauce) and toasted macadamia nuts & coconut on the top
- roasted sweet potatoes (cut into “fries” or cubes, drizzled with coconut oil, salt & pepper and baked at 350* for 30 minutes)
- salad with homemade ranch dressing (recipe to come but here’s another that I haven’t tried yet) – I did have trouble when I was eating huge salads for 5 days in a row because raw veggies can be harder to digest…so now I just don’t eat quite as much salad or smaller salads.
- chicken skewers on the grill, seasoned with coconut aminos or simply salt and pepper (chicken, peppers, onion)
- cilantro lime cauliflower rice
- chicken sausages (really check your labels, almost all have added sugar. I found some at Target & Earth Fare that were compliant)
- coconut milk – I use this in so many things…you need to get the unsweetened coconut milk in a can because it doesn’t have carrageenan (which is made of seaweed but is inflammatory and can do nasty things to your body) or other additives
- Applegate roasted turkey from the deli at Target – wholesome ingredients and no added sugar or carrageenan
- I could eat nearly any meat, veggie (no corn because it’s a grain and no peas because they’re a legume) or fruit during the 30 days. Just refer to the shopping list if you’re unsure or google “whole30 food” with “food” being the thing you want to see is compliant. For example “whole30 corn” or “whole30 soy sauce”.
- coconut oil – cold pressed and organic. I use this for everything.
Is evaporated cane sugar okay? No, you can’t have any added sugar at all during your 30 days. Even sugar that’s “better” is off limits. No honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, coconut sugar, etc. Sugar is an addictive substance, so it’s off limits during the 30 days because it creates an unhealthy hormonal response. The more you eat, the more you want. So it needs to be cut out. This is why it’s so important to read your labels. Sugar in some form is in just about anything which goes back to the fact that you should eat whole foods (i.e. not in a package). If you’re not sure what an ingredient is on the label, look it up. I did that so many times when I was standing in the grocery store during my 30 days.
Are protein shakes/meal replacements okay? No. The purpose of Whole30 is to eat real, WHOLE foods. Meal shakes can hardly be considered a whole food and they’re full of ingredients that are not approved in the Whole30 program.
What do I do if I cheat? The purpose of Whole30 is to change your mindset & habits about food and also to heal your body from systemic inflammation that has built up from eating inflammatory foods all of our lives. If you cheat during your 30 days, then you’ve stopped the healing and should restart your count of days. So if you cheat on day 25, on day 26 you will start again on day 1. The creators of Whole30 are very knowledgable and have researched this thoroughly as a nutritionist and physical therapist. They know how long it takes for your body to heal. For some it’s more of a Whole45 or Whole 60 to get completely healed. That being said, if you do cheat – it’s okay. This is a hard program and very much mental. Just get yourself in the right mindset and try again. You’ll be glad you did.