So there’s this little thing called a Whole30… you may have heard of it?
A while back I attempted a Whole30 after reading It Starts With Food, though I failed to complete it and donned the cone of shame, and have been a super fan of the “why” behind this
diet GUIDE to thriving on whole foods ever since. It opened my eyes to a perspective I hadn’t considered before; my approach to Paleo here on this blog and in The Frugal Paleo Cookbook, were shaped by what they put down on those pages. I’m super duper grateful.
I have a pretty solid understanding of the Whole30 program, but when I read through the book I was surprised to learn a few things that I didn’t know before… Kinda like when you watch a movie that’s based on a book first, then you go back and read the book and discover all kinds of details and nuances that were missed in the movie. You know what I’m talking about… That’s how I felt reading Whole30 the book. It’s absolutely worth spending the $17 or whatever it is on Amazon right now. Plus they have a ton of practical recipes in the book (and if I say it’s practical, then you know it actually is).
I want to digress for a second and talk about a shirt that Diana Rodgers and Robb Wolf were sporting on day 1 of PaleoF(x) this year. It simply read: Sustainability > Abs. And I friggin LOVE it! From where I sit, we can apply the same concept by changing out “sustainability” for so many things that are important for health and happiness such as quality sleep, clear skin, a calmed immune system, smooth digestion, balanced hormones, and a healthy emotional relationship with food. I mean, when did this stuff go out of style?
It really is time to set aside the scale, and even tuck away the “goal jeans” finally, and instead ask ourselves what truly matters to us more than abs? What do you want to get out of this step you’ve either taken or are considering to improve the way you eat? My hope is that your answer has a six pack pretty far down on the list of priorities… cause there’s so much more to you being your best you.
And that’s what I love about Whole30. Forget chasing a number or an image and get to know yourself: your strengths, weaknesses, and actual needs (versus cravings that have serious baggage). Learn more about what your body prefers and also doesn’t do very well with through the elimination phase and then reintroduce foods correctly so your experiment pays off and you gain the best prize of all: you now know how to honor your body’s unique needs. What could be more valuable? (And if you’re saying abs, then I tip my hat to your sarcasm and wit… I totally walked into that one).
So even though I’m a super fan girl of what Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig have created from a personal challenge they gave themselves six years ago, there were a few things that I didn’t know about Whole30 until I read the book.
I didn’t realize that Whole7 or Whole10 was a thing.
Once you’ve completed a Whole30 and have pressed reset on your body, mind, and relationship with food, then you can use a Whole7 or a Whole10 to bring things back to center. Since no one is preaching diet dogma here, and therefore you are free to live, and do, and be when it comes to what you choose to eat, these condensed versions of the Whole30 are super handy to know about. Need to recover after an awesome vacation where tacos and margaritas were a daily thing? Knock out a Whole7 to get your body right. Dealing with some strange food reactions that you’re having trouble figuring out? Do a Whole10 and see if it doesn’t offer some insight.
This totally lines up with my approach to Paleo. It’s a template to get to know ourselves better so we can make informed decisions about what we choose to eat. If it genuinely agrees with you, then eat it. And if it actually doesn’t, then in general, avoid it.
Vegan and vegetarian Whole30 programs exist.
I am a long time friend to my plant-based peeps. I’ve even written about ways to incorporate Paleo values into a vegan diet as well as how to plan meals that are both Paleo and Vegan. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to diet and lifestyle, and if vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian is your preference, then have at it! You might like knowing that the same Good Food Standards that help to heal our guts, bring inflammation under control, establish hormonal harmony, and foster a healthy emotional relationship with food in the Whole30 are available even if you pass on most or all animal-based protein sources.
I really dig when people in the Paleo world think outside the cave and bridge the gap between our preferred way of eating and those practices which are typically considered in opposition. We’ll certainly differ on a few particulars, but in the end we all share a love of vegetables, care about how our food is cultivated, and, of course, give a fair amount of attention to our health and the health of others. *high five, us!*
It’s an easy and entertaining read; Dallas & Melissa are hilarious!
So if you read their blogs, follow their posts, or have read It Starts With Food, you know that these two are not boring. But what I’m so impressed by is that here I am reading a book that’s essentially telling me that I need to part ways with Paleo-friendly things I really do enjoy (in addition to already parting ways with all of the other things that I really enjoy), and yet I find myself smiling, nodding along, and turning page after page. How is that possible?
Their wit, tough love, and yet undeniable empathy for their readers pours out from every page. I feel like they care more about my true health than my temporary feelings, knowing that a good kick in the ass has its place. It’s like hanging out with that friend you love who you know will tell you the truth even though you don’t want to hear it. You trust them to speak into your life because they have your best interest at heart; that friend who knows how to deliver the punch with tact, humor, and truth.
This book isn’t an elitist, self-indulgent work where the author(s) flex on their esoteric knowledge of food and physiology. It’s about you, for you. It’s loaded with meal plans, inspiring success stories, crazy good recipes, a detailed timeline describing what to expect emotionally as you progress day-to-day, lots and lots of tips for handling life (cause we know that doesn’t stop, Whole30 or otherwise!), plus a handy list of resources in the back for those who want more information.