There are many 30 days plans out there. What is Whole30, and what makes it so different?
Whole30 is a Paleo-based nutritional 30-day challenge focused on real, whole foods. This challenge helps reset your system in many different ways, but especially through the healing of the digestive system. While many people can and do lose weight on the Whole30, the ultimate goal of this challenge (and the Paleo diet) is not weight loss but, rather, optimum health. If you are seeking to lose weight, this is a healthy way to do it.
Usually, when people ask us what our challenge is about, they tend to hear a lot of "can'ts", but the off-limits section is important because it's not just about what we eat, but what we don't eat as well. The following was taken from Whole9Life.com (because they say it better than we can)!
What else? Oh yes, the "last and final" rule of the Whole30 is that you are not supposed to weight or measure yourself during the challenge. They do encourage before and after measurements, but recommend that you skip all that during the 30 days. Obviously we didn't listen very well to that. I rather enjoyed following our process with photos throughout the 30 days (a photo every week, typically).
Remember that Whole30 is a stricter form of Paleo. The Paleo diet typically allows for stevia, maple syrup, honey and natural sweeteners, but we are trying to break sugar addictions and transform our bodies, so it is necessary to remove it for your diet for these 30 days.
What else do I need to know?
So now we've gone through the OFF LIMITS list, and you may be in a little bit of a panic. Do without grains and legumes? No rice and beans at your favorite Mexican Restaurants? No tortilla chips? What??? But really, if we can do it, so you can you because, believe us, we really have a passion for many of the foods that are now off limits.
Fear not, because your meals do not have to be boring. For thirty days you are going to making good food choices. You are going to be reading labels (and finding that so may foods have some strange, weird ingredients in them). You don't have to weigh your food or count calories. And while grass-fed, organic, and free-range meat/eggs are best, you don't have to throw out the Whole30 if you cannot afford those things.
For 30 days you are going to focus on eating healthy, whole foods. No cheating. No slip ups. No off-days. No special occasions. The folks at Whole9Life said it best:
Your goal may be to lose weight, but the more important factor here is to give your guts some love. Give them time to heal and stick with it for 30 days. Healing your gut is key to healing your body. I guarantee you will find other problems going away. (Freight-train snoring? Itchy rashes? Hot flashes? We saw all of these things disappear!)
There is plenty you can eat, so don't feel deprived. Learn to season your food properly. It does not have to be bland. Grill meats and veggies. Marinate steaks. Look up recipes and try new things. You never know, you might fall in love with this way of eating like we have.
There's no shortage of awesome Whole30 friendly recipes. You can make fancy meals or you can go simple. Sometimes my brain cannot process much so it helps to think, "All I need is meat, and then I fill the plate with vegetables."
Here are some great links for those interested in the Whole30 challenge.
Introduction to Whole30 from Whole9Life.com
The Whole30 A-Z Testimonial Page- Real life testimonies from people who have experienced life-changing results from this program.
Paleo Poor: Your Guide to the Grocery Store- Paleo/Whole30 does not have to be expensive. Really. We feed a family of seven (Granted, one of those seven is a baby, but they all eat a good bit of food!), and we are actually spending less money than when we were vegans/vegetarians and are more satisfied! Whole9Life also offers a printable grocery list to help you out!
Whole30 Facebook Page- Join the community!
And of course, it helps to purchase the book It Starts With Food. This has been a great resource for us! (See top right column for a link!)