Get ready! We’re doing a Whole30 Nutrition Challenge!
The Whole30 Challenge is a 30-day nutrition challenge that takes a Paleo-based approach to eating. Par for course, you’ll eat meat, veggies, some fruit and good fats. While there are quite a few programs that transition people to a Paleo diet for healthier living, we believe Whole30 offers the best programming and foundation for better long-term habits. While dedicating 30 days toward resetting your digestive system is a good start, we believe that the best results will come from longer dedication, as well as learning what personally works for you and your long-term goals through continued experimentation. For those of you who have already been Paleo, this is a great way to get back on track.
A little bit about the program, so you can somewhat gauge what you’ll be getting into if you commit:
Here is a brief overview of the guidelines of Whole30, beginning with what you can’t eat. Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and enable you to see just how these foods are impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.
- Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
- Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
- Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. Yes, we said corn… for the purposes of this program, corn is a grain! This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
- Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
- Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
- Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
- In addition, no Paleo-ifying dessert or junk food choices! It will ruin your Whole30 faster than you can say, “paleo pizza.” Do not try to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold. This means no “paleo-fying” desserts or junk food – no paleo pancakes, pizza, brownies or ice cream. Trying to replicate junk food with “technically approved” ingredients misses the point of the Whole30 entirely.
There are a few exceptions to the rules above. They are:
- Clarified Butter or Ghee. Clarified butter or ghee is the only source of dairy allowed in the Whole30 program. Plain old butter is NOT allowed, as the milk proteins found in non-clarified butter could impact your results. Learn more here.
- Fruit juice as a sweetener. A small amount of fruit juice as an added ingredient during your Whole30 is allowed, but this doesn’t mean a cup of fruit juice is a healthy choice!
- Certain legumes. Green beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas are okay on the Whole30 program. While they’re technically a legume, these are far more “pod” than “bean,” and the benefits of the plant matter far exceed the downside.
- Vinegar. Most forms of vinegar, including white, balsamic, apple cider, red wine, and rice, are allowed during your Whole30 program. The only exceptions are vinegars with added sugar, or malt vinegar, which generally contains gluten.
- Processed foods. Minimally processed foods like canned coconut milk, applesauce, tomato sauce, chicken broth or canned olives are all acceptable on the Whole30 – but, avoid anything with carageenan, MSG or sulfites.
The good news is that what you can eat is so numerous I can’t fit it all in the post!
The challenge begins on January 5th, and I hope you’ll join us for 30 days of clean eating experimentation, community and education. You will be able to note not only the changes you see in your body, but how you feel. Nutrition is the foundation for excellence in fitness and being the very best you can be. If you’re interested, send me an email at ljrispin (at) gmail.com, or tell your coach you want to join.
There will be a $10 buy-in. As an incentive, if you make it through all 30 days, you get your $10 back. There is a quick daily check-in form that you will be responsible for. Keep track of your food how ever you like, but keep it handy because I’ll be doing random checks throughout the challenge.