Whole30 Challenge Starts Today Jan 7th 2013 – Whole Foods for 30 Days.
Today marks the first day of my Whole30 challenge where I will eat all whole foods and unprocessed foods for 30 days. This means no grains, dairy, alcohol, legumes, sugar, or sweeteners for 30 days. No slips. No cheat days. And no scales. Just whole, pure food. You know, the food we’re supposed to be eating all the time?
I learned about the Whole30 Challenge through some friends at my former gym and internet pals who eat paleo. If you are not familiar with the paleo diet, it’s basically the same thing as the Whole30 challenge – meats, nuts, seeds, lots of veggies, and little fruit. The difference is you cannot “paleo-ify” desserts because part of the Whole30 Challenge is getting your mind weened off of the psychological impacts of food and dessert is one of them. Whole30 has a great online community where you can get support, tips, and tricks during the program. The founders of Whole30 also recently wrote a book called It Starts With Food which can serve as a companion guide while you are on the program.
If you would have asked me a year ago to go on the Whole30 challenge, it would have been extremely hard for me to do this. The thought of not eating sugar, bread, or drinking alcohol for 30 days wasn’t just unappealing, it just didn’t seem possible. But now after being gluten-free and sticking to a diet like this for 60-70% of the time anyway, I feel like it’s not going to be such a huge adjustment for me. I’ve already crossed most of these hurdles and weened myself off cravings months ago. I taught myself how to drink my coffee black and it was one of the hardest things I’ve done but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. However I still have my indulgences. And as you can see from the pic above, we had plenty of processed crap in our fridge that I was happy to get rid of. Here is what I do think will be hard for me to give up food wise for the next 30 days on Whole30:
- Cheese I like it. I like it on crackers, I like string cheese, babybel mini cheese, and I enjoy it as an appetizer at parties with gluten-free crackers. It’s one of the indulgences I’ve had since going gluten-free. But it has also hurt me (more on this below). This is one of the big reasons why I’m going on Whole30 – I need to cut the cheese (literally).
- Gluten-Free Crackers Another one of my guilty pleasures. There are so many yummy kinds now and they just taste so good with cheese.
- Ice Cream While I don’t eat a ton of it, I do enjoy the occasional Pinkberry or trip to Yogalicious
- Wine This is by far the hardest thing for me to give up. I love wine. I enjoy coming home from work on a Friday night and opening up a bottle of wine with my husband and watching a movie. I don’t drink beer at all anymore and wine is my go-to drink of choice, specifically red wine. And we just got several new bottles of wine that I’ve been wanting to dig into. But it’s going to have to wait…for now. I’ve got some healing to do first.
Now some of you may read the above and think, Why is she doing Whole30? She already eats healthy. Why Whole30? Well, here’s why:
Since becoming gluten-free I have lost 20 pounds and feel great. However, while my weight is down I still have work to do. When I became gluten-free I introduced red meat back into my diet after 20 years of not eating it. I felt like because I was giving up so much I had to bring something back in. My doctor encouraged it and I was willing to give it a try. However, now I find myself with a new problem I’ve never had to deal with before: high cholesterol.
I found out I had high cholesterol right before Christmas. This came as a huge shocker to me because my cholesterol levels have always been normal and I didn’t eat much meat. Before I found out I was gluten intolerant, I thought I was lactose intolerant so I stayed away from cheese and dairy as well. Well, I guess I have been eating too much cheese because my cholesterol skyrocketed over the last year. Ugh. In addition to this, I now have an elevated homocysteine level in my blood which puts my health at risk. My doctor asked if the meat I’d been eating was grass-fed and I said sometimes but not always. He said I need to stick to only grass-fed beef because of the cholesterol issue.
I know there’s a lot of debate over meat vs non meat in the whole foods diet. For example, paleo principles show meat as being a key component of diet. But then I just watched a documentary on Netflix called Forks Over Knives and they say a plant-based diet of whole foods is best. One thing is for sure – a whole foods diet rich in vegetables IS good for you and CAN reverse disease.
If you have not had a thorough blood test or physical examination recently, I highly suggest you do so and see where you stand. I thought I was in great health since I had lost 20 lbs. But your blood work is a blueprint that will tell you all you need to know. So I am going to try and reverse this myself with diet and see how it goes. There was a quote in Forks Over Knives that I want to share because it inspired me:
“Let Food Be Thy Medicine.” – Hippocrates
I like this quote because it’s so true. Most people who find out they have something wrong with them turn to medicine. They turn to pills, antibiotics, and who knows what else. While I am not against these things, I do believe in going straight to the source: diet. There’s another great quote from Forks Over Knives that sums this up beautifully:
“He that takes medicine and ignores his diet, wastes his doctor’s time’ -A Chinese Proverb
So true. For the next 30 days my goals will be as follows:
1. Eat for my health and no slip ups
2. Not to step on a scale. I will however, take my body measurements.
3. Lower my cholesterol and homocysteine levels in my next blood test.
4. Lower my body fat and lose the last 5-7 lbs.
I am committed and dedicated to making this happen. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to sharing my journey over the next 30 days with you.
What about you? Have you Done Whole30? Would you ever try it? Do you know where you stand health wise today? Post in the comments and let me know!
Are you going to eat red meat during the Whole30?
Also are their support forums free to access?
Also what did you do with all the food you purged? Donated or trash?
It will be really cool to see your ‘after’ cholesterol numbers.
If someone asked me a year ago if I could give up carbs (bread, etc) I would have laughed. But now I live this way, it’s not a problem. Cheese would be the hard one for me to give up, because it’s such a convenient snack and easy way to add some more fat. Guess I could just convert to nuts (would I be allowed to use a ‘nut cheese’ on Whole30?)
Yes, I will eat red meat but only grass fed beef, organic chicken, and learn turkey.
I made two separate piles for food: one for donation and one for trash. Most everything was half used so I had to throw it away. And the few items I had that were unopened I had planned to donate only to find out they were expired! So I guess my kitchen was in need of a deep cleaning.
I’m not sure about nut cheese. Seems like it would have to be processed in some way, no? The Whole30 forums are free to access. There is a lot of free material you can find on the good ole WWW and you can also subscribe to their daily emails and their success guide for a fee. I bought the book but haven’t looked at the online resources yet.
Apples and Arteries says
I look forward to reading about your progress…you can do it!
I stopped drinking wine a few years ago because I was starting to get a headache after even just 1 glass of red wine. In less than a month, 10lbs just melted off.
Wow! I hope that happens to me. Wine is my guilty pleasure!
Hi Lindsay! I just started the #Whole30 program on January 1st! I’m in my 7th Day now and really feeling good! Good luck- I hope your 30 days is great! A quick tip- make to eat enough protein and healthy fats at each meal so you can last to the next meal; I had trouble with that in my first two days!
Hi Arika! Nice to meet another fellow #whole30’er. Thanks for the tip. I did find that I got a bit hungry in between lunch and dinner tonight so I had a vegetable juice. I will try and make sure to include more healthy fats at each meal. Do you know if there’s a post on the Whole30 site that speaks more to this? Thanks!
Caroline Calcote says
I’ll definitely be following you…you seem like a pro! I am 43, and also have high cholesterol. I take medication for it (Lipitor, only on Mon., Wed., Fri.), and there is a very high occurrence of high cholesterol in my family. I’m not sure I will ever be able to have normal levels without medication, but I’m hoping this diet will help. I’ve been on medication for it for years, despite having lost 100#.
I definitely need to outline some goals and take measurements (if not weigh…I have not stepped on a scale in a very long time. I gave up the scale long ago.)
Here’s to Day 2!
Erin Russell says
Lipitor and all the statin type drugs are just nasty to your body. Check into Lecithin, you can buy it in capsule form. My boyfriend at the time stopped taking his cholesterol medicine and started taking a capsule with each meal, if he ate something really greasy like pepperoni pizza than he’d take 2, and he didn’t say anything to his Doctor. The next check up he had everything was in good shape and where it needed to be. Not recommending people do this but I am recommending that you might want to check it out is all.
Nice post! I’m really interested to see how this works for you. I’ve recently lost 30 pounds so I’m feeling pretty fit and awesome too. Good Luck!
Ashley Fleming says
Lindsay! I have done one Whole 30 and am on my second one right now. My husband and I eat clean about 75% of the time, but we love doing the Whole 30. The book is great too. I lost 10 lbs on my last one (without trying) and am excited to see results from this one too. Best of luck and I’m excited to hear how it goes for you!
Hi Lindsay! Glad your first Whole30 is going well:) I’m just finishing day 12 at the moment and feel great! I don’t think I am losing weight (in fact I know I’m not seeing as I did weigh myself yesterday oops) but I feel stronger and healthier which is what matters most.
Health wise, I am doing the Whole30 because I have PCOS. I have been eating Paleo like for a couple of years and noticed a great difference in my symptoms of PCOS when I ate this way! Hoping to see some good results at the end of this. I’m blogging about it too:)
Thanks for sharing. Although I work out a ton and consider myself in great shape as you mentioned blood work may tell another story. I am going to assume this diet may also help with potential diabetic issues (glucose and A1C levels jumped). I’ll get the book and do some more research because like many have said…….why go straight to medicine when diet may solve the problem.