Strict calorie restriction diets are one of the most frequently followed, and least useful diets. Drastically restricting yourself of food does 2 things:
- It just increases your awareness of ‘food’ in general, making focusing on anything BUT your diet impossible
- Leads to feelings of deprivation that is in your human DNA to then overeat and binge down the line, not if, but when you break.
The diet you want to be following isn’t actually a diet. In order to see a long-lasting change in your body, you need to change your perspective on food, becoming familiar and falling in love with clean, fresh, natural nutrient sources. This is why the Whole30 diet has become on one of the hottest ‘diets’ in health at fitness at the moment.
What is the Whole30 diet?
Welcome to 30 days of clean eating, eliminating only the foods which have a negative impact on your body, digestion and mind. In doing so, you learn more about your body and the foods that cause inflammation, weight gain and energy fluctuations.
The primary function of this diet is to give your body the breath of fresh air it’s been waiting for – no additives, no preservatives, no sugars or harmful substances, no processed grains, no dairy and no junk food.
Rule of thumb: Almost everything that comes in a plastic wrapper is not allowed on the Whole30 diet
- No sugar or natural or artificial sweeteners. That includes honey, maple syrup, agave, Splenda, xylitol, or Stevia
- No alcohol.
- No smoking.
- No grains.
- No beans or legumes. No chickpeas, and no peanut butter (peanuts are part of the legume family).
- No soy. Soy milk, tofu, soy sauce – all of it are a no go
- No dairy. Of any type (cheese lovers this is for you)
- No processed additives. Carrageenan, sulfites, MSG – if the ingredient lists include these, put it back.
- No ‘Whole30 Approved Treats’. One of the most important parts of this diet is to remove the obsession with junk food. This means you can’t go recreate brownies out of almond flour and ghee, or mountains of pancakes out of eggs and banana, or vegan carbonara with zoodles. The focus of this diet is to bring you back to real, simple, clean foods, and is not to trick your tastebuds into eating whole foods.
What can you eat?
- Natural Fats. Avocado oil, coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, all nuts except peanuts
What are the benefits of the whole30 diet?
1. Your energy will increase, and stop fluctuating. This is the result of minimal insulin spikes, and usually followers of the diet tend to transition into ketosis – where your body uses fat as a protein source – one of the steadiest sources of energy.
2. Improved digestion. Removing gut irritants like dairy, alcohol, processed sugar and grains will end those tummy problems once and for all.
3. You’ll begin to understand your own body, mind and hunger better. This type of diet gives your mind a clear connection to the type of food it needs. Instead of craving food like fried chicken and chocolate, this diet teaches your body to learn the real foods and crave things like baked chicken breast, and cacao with coconut yogurt.
“Nutrition is the most underutilized medication for diseases around the world”
4. Things start to change everywhere in and on your body when you switch to such a clean diet. Followers have noted stronger hair and nails, clearer skin and better moods, as well as less reliance on certain medications. This diet can tell you exactly what has been making you sick or giving you these issues in the first place.
5. Without excessive exercise, this diet can make you lose weight and gain muscle at the same time.
What are some of the downsides?
- The first week of cravings can be extremely strong and isn’t very pleasant. Your body can go into full-on withdrawals as sugar, grains and alcohol alight the same areas of the brain as most hard drugs.
- It’s somewhat a restrictive diet – eliminating for some, a huge part of your current diet.
- If you mess up ONE day of the Whole30 Diet, you will have to start all over again. The Whole30 website says “This isn’t us playing the tough guy. This is a fact, born of education and experience. You need such a small amount of any of these inflammatory foods to break the healing cycle.”
- Always consult a doctor first to ensure that you are suitable for a Whole30 Diet
Top tips for success on the Whole30 diet
- Plan for success and avoid failure. Make sure your weekly grocery shop has a clear list of items needed and NOTHING ELSE. A good routine to follow is to do your food shop and meal prep on the same day. Pre-plan your breakfasts, pack your lunches and freeze your dinners.
- Think about the goal in mind. Whether that’s a number on the scales, wanting to improve your sleep, or improve your relationship with food – 1 month from now you’ll thank yourself.
- Stop focusing on the foods you can’t eat and start focusing on the foods you can, AND how good they make you feel!
- Bring a friend along for the ride. People who start diets or join gyms with someone else are 50% more likely to stick to it. Use them as your support system, the person to share a meal with, and the person you finish the 30 days with.