You’ve scrolled past the recipes on Pinterest and probably had a few enthusiastic Whole30 friends. But you’ve heard about all the work: the required hours of planning and chopping and prepping. Not to mention all those extremely restrictive Whole30 rules! The popular fad diet also receives mixed reviews – believers gushing while experts claim it’s one of the worst diets out there. So what’s the deal?
For starters, I’m not a nutritionist or medical expert. I’m coming from the perspective of a Snickers bar for lunch kinda girl who struggled with extreme health issues for about four years. I’m also married to a man who religiously hits the gym 4 – 5 times a week and embraces the Paleo lifestyle wholeheartedly. (Me eat bacon. Me lift heavy rocks.) We’re currently enjoying (or suffering through) our 5th Whole30 in three years. Here’s why.
1. Whole30 is not a diet. It’s a 30 day reset, designed to help you and your body change your relationship with food. Eliminating trigger foods – sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains, etc. – for one month can teach your body not to crave those things, cut emotional ties, and reprogram your mind to enjoy healthier choices.
I was a girl who regularly ate french fries for dinner and felt sick all the time. My husband was chained to his calorie counter and always hungry. For us, Whole30 was life-changing, teaching us to make nutrient-rich healthier foods second-nature.
2. Whole30 helps you address food and digestion issues. After college my bad eating habits eventually caught up to me and I started having debilitating health and digestive problems. Doctors tried everything from prescription laxatives to colon therapy. Nothing helped.
Finally, my wonderful physician’s assistant recommended an elimination diet (similar to Whole30). Guess what? For no apparent reason or allergy, my stomach will not process gluten. I gave it up and gave my digestive system time to heal (with lots of healthy clean foods, probiotics, and sleep). Goodbye to stomach cramps, IBS-C, heartburn, weird rashes, nausea, and feeling terrible and terrified of eating. Whole30 gave me my life and my health back. So if you’re having unexplained health issues, a Whole30 with proper food reintroduction could help you discover the problem.
Whole30 is not a fix-all and it’s not for everyone, but it might be worth a try. In our home, we Whole30 twice a year to get back on track. The rest of the year, my husband is 80% Paleo and I enjoy all things gluten-free. I still grab the occasional Snickers bar for lunch, but my brain and body are retrained to pile my plate with fruit and veggies more often than not. We’re happy, we’re healthy, and loving life.