I Did the Whole 30 (Or Maybe the Whole 27..): An Assessment
I eat a healthy, whole food diet which consists mostly of nuts, fruits, veggies, cheese, yogurt and meat/chicken/fish. I don’t eat a lot of grains. So why would I further limit my choices and take on the Whole 30? Clearly a masochistic streak, a desire to see how much healthier I can be, and a team player attitude in collaborating with a fabulous husband/wife acupuncturist couple with whom I now practice.
Having “survived” 30 days (the 27 is based on an estimate of being 90% compliant) without cheese, half and half, and pizza (I did cheat and had my daughter’s garlic bread!) I am not significantly healthier or happier, but am grateful to have had the chance to switch my routine around a bit.
On the Whole 30, which prohibits any grains, added sugars or sweeteners of any kind, dairy and legumes (soy, beans, peanuts), I had to add in some foods. To get prepared, I headed to Costco and loaded up on carrots, celery, kiwi, mandarins, potatoes (yes they and all starchy veggies are allowed) and eggs. Since dates are allowed (one of the logical inconsistencies of this program), I bought a mega container of Medjool.
I love tahini sauce, which Trader Joe’s and my local Middle Eastern emporium Tangiers both carry. For those unfamiliar, tahini is sesame butter, or paste. The sauce is a diluted version with lemon and garlic. It is still thick enough to spread and makes a delicious salad dressing. I brought some on board to join almond butter in keeping the carrots and celery company.
I already was eating plenty of avocados and olives so nothing new there. My coffee became black, which was acceptable. I missed pizza and yogurt and cheese, but not to a troubling degree. I lost a pound or two, felt hungry a lot, and had modestly better digestion thanks to an uptick in fiber.
My issues: As I mentioned, I can’t reconcile allowing dates (and Larabars, which are dates and nuts and other fruit) and not a little sugar or especially stevia. The other prohibitions and permissions are understandable and acceptable.
Conclusion: The Whole 30 is a good way to get sugar, grains and dairy, three common allergens, out of your diet. Do you suffer from skin rashes, migraines, IBS, diabetes, high blood pressure, celiac disease, PMS? You will get better on this diet, even in just a month. If you do get better, you’re on the right track. Talk to a naturopath or someone familiar with nutritional medicine to guide you further. Are you healthy and eating a nutrient-rich, whole food diet? Try the Whole 30 if you want to challenge yourself.
Dr. Jonathan Goodman, ND