Is Whole30 Right for You?
What Is the Whole30 Diet Plan?
The Whole30 program turns your focus to whole and unprocessed foods for 30 days. It eliminates food groups like sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes, as well as alcohol – foods that can be seen as having a negative impact on your health. There’s no counting calories or weighing yourself; instead, you just focus on making healthy food decisions.
Have you heard about the Whole30 diet plan? It’s been gaining popularity since 2009, and there’s even a New York Times bestselling book about Whole30.
But, what does this diet plan entail, and is it the best plan for your lifestyle? The only way to answer that question is to learn more, so keep reading!
What is the Whole30 diet?
The idea behind the Whole30 diet plan is to eliminate a number of foods from your diet because those foods could be causing physical and emotional health problems. Per the official website, you should:
“Strip them from your diet completely. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, 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 health, habits, and relationship with food, and the downstream physical and psychological effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, long term health, body composition, and feelings around food.”
What does someone eat on the Whole30 diet?
Whole30 focuses on whole, unprocessed foods. You’ll eat tons of vegetables (including potatoes and root vegetables), different meats, eggs, seafood, some fruit, herbs, spices and seasonings, and lots of healthy fats.
You won’t be measuring calories or stepping on the scale. The program’s focus is not weight loss. Are you sleeping better? Do you have more energy? Do you feel better overall? Has your skin improved?
Think about how you might feel on a diet like this. Even cutting out excess sugar can be life-changing, and people who struggle with some of the foods listed below might find this program to be particularly helpful for re-establishing better habits.
What foods are off-limits with Whole30?
Over the course of 30 days, you won’t consume any:
- Added sugar (including honey, agave nectar, and other sweeteners)
- Alcohol (not even in cooking)
- Legumes (including all forms of soy, though sugar snap peas, green beans, and snow peas are allowed)
- Dairy (you can use ghee and clarified butter)
- Carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites
- Baked goods and junk food, even if they have “approved” ingredients. Like the Whole30 website says, “a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.”
To learn more about the specifics, visit the Whole30 webpage.
Is Whole30 right for you?
The basics of the program are pretty simple, and the framework will serve you well throughout your healthy living quest — whole, unprocessed foods are great fuel for your body. Whole30 aims to improve your relationship with food.
But, is this dietary lifestyle change for you? Simply put, it depends.
Some people don’t do well on a program that allows them unrestricted calories. Others need to see the scale changing to stay motivated. And there are some vocal opponents of the plan. For example, in describing the Whole30 diet plan, U.S. News and World Report’s Health section states: “No independent research. Nonsensical claims. Extreme. Restrictive.”
You may find that a 30 day reset is just what your diet needs, or you may decide it’s too restrictive for your lifestyle. At the end of the day, decisions about nutrition and diet plans are best left to you and your doctor.