Whole30 is probably a program you’ve heard about. It’s an extremely popular plan for those looking for a way to improve their eating habits. I’ve even tried it myself. This Whole30 overview will help you decide if this plan is right for you.
What’s The Whole30 All About?
Whole30 is a plan developed by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig about 9 years ago. The basic idea is to eliminate certain foods/food groups that may be harmful to your body. After 30 days, you will slowly reintroduce foods to determine if your body tolerates them. If not, you’ll see how your body reacts negatively to that food so you can make an informed decision about whether to continue to exclude it from your diet.
The book explaining the method is It Starts With Food. After reading the book, you’ll understand what foods to include and exclude for the next 30 days. It explains the reasoning behind cutting out certain items as well as what to expect during your program experience.
Whole30 Diet Rules
For thirty days you will not eat any foods containing
- Sugar! (including fruit juice)
- Grains and “pseudo-grains” such as rice, corn and quinoa
- Legumes (peanuts and beans)
- Artificial stuff like MSG, carageenan, artificial coloring and preservatives
Also you aren’t allowed to weigh yourself. No cheating whatsoever or you’ll have to start over at day 1. And no making any type of dessert items with allowed ingredients. They call this “sex with your pants on” and it’s a no-no.
What The Whole30 Is/Is Not
The Whole30 program is a way to
- clean up your diet
- discover unknown food allergies and sensitivities
- jump start a permanent change to a healthier diet
- completely cut out harmful food for a short period of time
- change your eating habits
- learn how to properly fuel your body
- break bad habit by learning new habits
- get yourself cooking at home instead of relying on takeout
The Whole30 is not
- a permanent solution
- a quick fix
- for the wishy-washy
- a long-term diet/lifestyle
How To Get Started on The Whole30
Reading the book is the best step to take first as it explains the entire program along with the reasoning behind it. Once you have done that, check out the official Whole30 website for helpful printables, meal plans & recipes, testimonials and online support.
You’ll need to create a meal plan and shopping list to get you through your first week. Begin by cleaning out your kitchen, throwing out any food on the excluded list. You won’t want any added temptation in your cupboards. After your shopping trip, try to prep your meats and veggies as much as you can for the coming week. Spending an hour a week on meal prep will be a life-saver later on.
The web is loaded with approved recipes you can try but I suggest getting one of the official Whole30 cookbooks.
Support For Your Journey
The Whole30 website has a forum where you can post questions and read other people’s stories. A quick online search can also get you connected to groups that are planning to start a Whole30 within the coming month so you will have others doing it along with you, day by day.
Get your family on board with you so they won’t be caught by surprise by the changes going on in your kitchen and your meal plan. If at all possible, get the entire household to do the program with you so you can keep off-limit foods out of the house. If someone else wants to cheat, make sure they do it somewhere else!
A great resource to support you each day is the new book The Whole30 Day by Day.
It includes valuable tips and tricks to get you past the daily changes you’re going to experience. On a bad day, you’ll want all the help you can get to make it through!
My Whole30 Experience
My sister was the first to introduce me to the Whole30. A large group of her coworkers had decided to try it together and she invited me to follow along in their Facebook group. I had been looking for some way to clean up my diet and keep myself motivated to stick it out.
The first time I tried it, I had a great experience. Not that it wasn’t difficult to stick to (it was!) but I learned a lot about myself and about nutrition. I picked up some new recipes that I still use today and discovered products I never would have tried before- like coconut milk and avocado oil. I even made homemade mayo for the first time!
It was the first time I experienced what it was like to go without sugar for such a long period of time. I found out where my weaknesses were and learned ways to cope with cravings. It was enjoyable to share experiences and recipes with the group, to see how the program was changing us.
Confession- I didn’t do the entire 30 days perfectly. I cheated on like day 27 (I don’t even remember what I ate but I know I cheated). And I admit I made some dessert-type items with allowed ingredients even though we weren’t supposed to. But overall the experience was well worth it! Even though I cheated a bit, and I didn’t do the reintroductions part exactly as instructed, I did find out that my body has an issue with milk.
I don’t remember how much weight I ended up losing although there was some loss. Mainly I lost the bloating and puffiness, and my skin cleared up nicely too.
The benefit I enjoyed most of all was getting rid of my brain fog. When I eat clean, I can think clearly even in the afternoon when I’m usually in an energy slump. My mind just isn’t as sharp as it used to be (maybe because of all these kids running around!). But on the Whole30 I felt more like myself. Like I could think and function as a normal human being and less like a tired and stressed-out Mom.
Can The Whole30 Help Me With My Sugar Addiction?
Absolutely! I highly recommend using the program to jump start your sugar-free life. Although it seems harsh at first, you’ll be forced to completely eliminate all sugars and most carbs (except for fruits and veggies). You’ll be able to experience what that feels like and reap its benefits. The thirty-day timeline feels more doable than a lifetime. You’re getting the experience and tools to cut sugar forever but in a more manageable chunk of time.
Once you complete the 30 days, you’ll be better equipped to continue your journey without sugar for the long-term. It will no longer seem like an impossibility!
Share With Us
If you’ve done the Whole30, we would love to hear what your experience was. Would you recommend it for sugar addicts? If you’ve never tried it, have you considered it? What’s holding you back?