Whole30 – Introduction & Information

Well, new years mean new diets, right?? Of course they do! Everyone feels inclined to cleaning up their diet and getting themselves in shape and feeling better, especially after eating 42 cookies between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with a side of 863 pieces of chocolate that seem to multiply from Halloween.

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably read about my birth stories, you know that my post partum recoveries have been rough. After my second son this year, I hemorrhaged, had two blood transfusions, and an extra long stay in the hospital. Ever since then I just haven’t felt like myself. I haven’t felt “good.” I’ve felt sluggish, tired, emotional, anxious… just not my normal contented self. So now that my son is almost 8 months old, I finally feel like I’ve gotten the hang of life again somewhat (haha do we ever really get the hang of life??) and am ready to do something drastic to help my body. 

My cousin’s wife recently was diagnosed with diabetes, and she is probably the healthiest person I know. She did a diet similar to Whole30 and it kept her condition from getting worse and has made it manageable for her without having to use medication. So I thought, hey, let’s give this a try. She and other friends of mine have done the Whole30 diet and just rave about how it has made them feel, how they have lost those extra pounds they had been trying to lose, and how their relationships with food have changed.

I started reading “It Starts With Food” last month and and also recently got the Whole30 Guide and am really ready to do this. So here we go.

From everything I have read and been told, preparation and planning is KEY. I have been reading on the Whole 30 website and also pinning recipes (you can follow my Pinterest Whole30 board here), trying to get a good plan in place. I thought it would be good to blog about it as much as I can so that I can focus my mind on the plan but also help others get started and make it through as well. I’m hoping to do future posts on meal plans and how I’m feeling throughout the next month.

I copied the following directly from the Whole 30 website, because I couldn’t say it better myself, and because they need to have the recognition for this material. This is WHY I want to commit to this massive change in diet, at least for 30 days, if not longer in some aspects.

“Established by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig (of Whole9) in April 2009, the Whole30® is our original nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”
“Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff.”
“So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you? Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.”

The more I read about this diet and lifestyle change, the more enamored I am and interested in pursuing it. I feel like it will be an answer to some of the health challenges I’ve been dealing with. My body needs a “reset.” I need to break these habits I have had for so many years and just be kinder to myself instead of giving into muffin cravings every afternoon when the kids are asleep. (I may or may not have done that for a solid month and half… #momconfessions) I also feel like it will just be a good thing to do for the body that God has given me and also good for my family, because I am the one in charge of feeding them hah! I listed some of the benefits of Whole30 below and also a couple of photos from their book.
Benefits: (Also from the Whole30 Website)
  • changes the way you think about food, your relationship with food
  • weight loss
  • change habits and cravings
  • healthier body image
  • improvement from any of the following… high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, asthma, allergies, sinus infections, hives, skin conditions, endometriosis, PCOS, infertility, migraines, depression, bipolar disorder, heartburn, GERD, arthritis, joint pain, ADD, hyroid dysfunction, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, lupus, leaky gut syndrome, Chohn’s, IBS, Celiac disease, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis
    • See links to success stories and testimonials here! These are so encouraging to read!

At first, Whole30 really seems daunting, especially if you haven’t ever considered a whole food lifestyle before. There is a lot of information and a lot of resources. I’ve been reading and spending every spare minute I have this last week trying to learn more and get ready. So in order to maybe help someone else not feel completely overwhelmed, I tried list the rules and guidelines below in the more straightforward way I could. Hopefully no one feels like this as they read through them haha… 

1. What can I eat?
  • Eat whole foods of meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. 
  • Eat foods with very few ingredients, all ingredients you can pronounce or foods without ingredients involved because they are natural and unprocessed. 

2. What I won’t eat.
  • No added sugar of any kind, real or artificial – so no honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, splenda, equal, stevia etc. 
  • No alcohol in any form
  • No grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, corn) 
  • No legumes (beans, peas, cickpeas, lentils, peanuts, peanut butter, soy, edamame)
  • No dairy (milk products, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream)
  • No carrageenan, MSG, Sulfites (read product ingredients for these!)
  • No recreated baked goods or junk food/treats with Whole30  – this is important to help break some of the psychological dependencies we have on “comfort food.” Even if the “pancake”is Paleo, it is still a pancake and still achieving that weird reward center in your brain. (I probably didn’t explain that as well as the Hartwigs did in their book so you’ll just have to trust me or go read it haha…)
3. No Scales or Tape Measurers Allowed!
  • A big part of this change in lifestyle is recreating your psychological relationship with food and improving your self image. You want to reduce your dependency on foods (comfort foods etc.) and learn to love the way you feel and look again without a number telling you to do so. 
Exceptions to the Rules:
  • clarified butter or ghee (Kerrygold brand butter is a good brand for after Whole30, but technically not Whole30 approved)
  • green beans, snow peas, sugar snap peas
  • vingear (just make sure it doesn’t have added sugar)
  • fruit juice as sweetener (try to use sparingly or not at all, you are trying to retrain your tastebuds to enjoy food as it is!)
  • salt (table salt has sugar in the form of dextrose to keep the potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost)
I really encourage you to read more on their website about “giving them 30 days” and how “it’s for your own good.” I copied a few excerpts below but I really would suggest reading through all of their information on their site if this seems like something you would be interested in. It is really empowering and makes you feel like you can make this commitment and do it! 

“Your only job during the Whole30 is to focus on making good food choices. You don’t need to weigh or measure, you don’t need to count calories, you don’t need to stress about organic, grass-fed, pastured or free range. Just figure out how to stick to the Whole30 in any setting, around every special circumstance, under any amount of stress… for 30 straight days. Your only job? Eat. Good. Food.”

“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime. Don’t even consider the possibility of a “slip.” Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a box of doughnuts, there is no “slip.” You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident. Commit to the program 100% for the full 30 days. Don’t give yourself an excuse to fail before you’ve even started. You never, ever, ever have to eat anything you don’t want to eat.”

I hope maybe this has given you something to consider or think about. It’d definitely a huge change and will be an adjustment. I’ll be honest, I am kind of nervous about committing, especially with two little ones and a crazy labradoodle reeking havoc in our house, but I am hopeful and will do my best! That’s all you can ask for! If I’m not perfect this time, then I will try again haha! My next post will be over preparation for the program and then hopefully I will be able to post about meal plans and how things are going with Jacob and I throughout the 30 days. Hope to see you back soon!


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