Food is one of the biggest delights that life has to offer. However, if you eat the wrong types of foods, it can also have detrimental effects on your overall health. Although we may think of certain foods such as whole grains, dairy, and legumes as healthy ways of eating, sometimes, these types of foods can cause severe gut damage to some and while not all foods should completely be off limits, it's a good idea to eliminate foods from your diet if you are experiencing certain symptoms, such as bloating, inflammation, seasonal allergies or even chronic pain.

Woman in red dress holding a pile of oranges

Enter the Whole30 diet, a way of eating and enjoying the foods that are meant for you without the damaging outcomes. The Whole30 diet isn't a diet or a fad, it is a way to eliminate foods that don't quite serve you while gaining the nutritional value that your body needs. If you typically are eating lots of processed foods or are experiencing discomfort due to lack of knowledge on what your body really needs, here are some facts and tips that will help you consider whether or not the Whole30 plan is right for you.

What Is The Whole30 Program?

Colorful fruits and vegetables

Your favorite foods may be triggering certain symptoms within you that are bringing down your overall wellbeing. Symptoms such as chronic headaches, runny nose or even pain may be caused by certain chemical compounds in particular foods that you eat. The Whole30 plan isn't a diet, it is a temporary program, which enables you to eliminate certain foods from your diet that may be the culprits of many of your recurring ailments. Melissa Hartwig, a reformed drug addict turned certified sports nutritionist and keynote speaker, began the program when deciding to experiment with foods that enabled her to feel her best. The Whole30 diet enables you to only incorporate whole foods into your diet for 30 days. Then after those 30 days are up, you can then slowly incorporate certain foods back into your diet, one at a time. It's like a reset button for your body, then as you add back foods, you can then process what foods trigger your system.

Though eating whole foods may help you lose weight, the Whole30 program isn't a weight loss method, therefore, it isn't marketed as one. However, if losing weight is something that you desire, then the plan may work for you. However, the sole purpose of the Whole30 plan is to ensure that your body gets the proper nutrition it requires without being subjected to harsh allergy symptoms.

What Are The Benefits Of The Whole30?

Chopped fruits and vegetables

There are plenty of benefits of eating nutritious foods from gaining energy to enabling your body to heal from certain ailments and chemicals from the processed fare. The Whole30 plan incorporates just that and more. Despite popular belief, unprocessed nutritional food has medicinal and healing properties, according to research, that can treat your body to help rid it of unnecessary toxins, enact as a treatment for illnesses and diseases, such as cancer as well as helping to create an equilibrium to your overall health.

Whole30 is technically similar to the paleo diet, which relies essentially on consuming foods that hunter-gatherers may have eaten over 10,000 years ago. Like the paleo diet, which fully includes foods that are unprocessed and whole foods, Whoel30 cuts on carbs and helps your body to regain back its natural balance. Other benefits of Whoel30 include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy
  • Improved digestion
  • Eliminated muscle and joint pain
  • Lowered cholesterol
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Lowered blood sugar

By eliminating many of the processed foods in our diets, which can also induce cravings due to additives and preservatives, you eliminate cravings, which then helps you to keep with the program. However, like all diet changing, you should always consult with your doctor first before beginning the program. If you are taking any medication, it is important that you seek the help of a medical professional in order to guide you on how to proceed with the program, as well.

Whole30 also enables you to plan ahead with your meals, and there are also a variety of snacks and meal ideas that will help you keep going with the program without reverting back to your old habits. There are also plenty of online communities which enables you to engage with others who are also in the program, in which you may share tips, seek guidance, and also locate an accountability partner. There is also little need for a scale as most Whole30 participants reportedly lose weight, however, this shouldn't be the main goal of the program, as much as eating healthy and whole.

What Are Some Symptoms of Whole30?

Man holding stomach in pain

Although Whole30 isn't a diet plan in the traditional sense of the word, it is a change in your eating habits. However, the strict constraints of meal planning are very crucial in ensuring that you gain the most benefits. Because your body is being cleansed and eliminating what it has become used to over the years, you may experience a change in mood. Your body can lead to a ketogenic state, similar to what it goes through when one is on a keto diet in which it will begin to burn fat if it cannot find any carbohydrates to use.

You should always consult a doctor before beginning any diet program because of the Whole30, although very beneficial, may take a toll on the body and how it functions due to its extreme qualities. The difficulty of Whole30 is sticking with the plan because even one slip up means that you will have to begin the program all over again, even when you are near the end. Other symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dull headaches
  • Crankiness
  • Brain fog
  • Cravings
  • Malaise
  • Breakouts
  • Mild bloating and irregularity

Though such symptoms are very common, especially during the first 14 days of starting Whole30, symptoms will typically feel worse before getting better since your body is ridding itself of toxins and other built-up things that have sat stagnant for years. However, if you experience any of the following, you should immediately consult with a medical practitioner:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Vertigo
  • Rashes and hives

Some symptoms are likely to occur during Whole30, but other symptoms outside the safe symptom zone should call for a doctor. It is also important to know that other medical issues that have nothing to do with Whole30 may also get worse, or come up, such as allergy symptoms so it's important to go to the doctor if you feel anything that isn't normal. Normal symptoms will usually arise when you're in the middle of the program, but they should feel more problematic than something that calls for a run to the emergency room, so it's always a good idea to seek the guidance of a doctor while you're on the program.

What You Can And Cannot Eat

Young woman with a pizza

Once you begin Whole30 you'll have to eliminate many of your favorite food such as cheeses, bread, and wines. it's not that these foods are bad, as they are quite healthy, but many of them tend to carry enzymes that lead to bloating, inflammation and gut issues, so by eliminating them, you can then begin the process of figuring out why you may have certain unexplained symptoms. The good news is that it's only for 30 days and there are a variety of delicious Whole30 meals to try to satiate your appetite.

With that being said, here is a list of foods that you will have to cut out for Whole30 success:

  • Alcohol - Not even for cooking or drinking.
  • Beans - No soy, legumes, tofu, edamame, lentils, peas, or peanuts.
  • Added Sugar - No natural or artificial sugar, including maple syrup, honey, sucralose, or sauces that contain sugar. However, you may consume o more than 2 servings of fruit per day, preferably with a meal and not by itself as a dessert.
  • Processed foods - No added chemicals, such as MSG, Carrageenan, or Sulfites
  • Junk Food - Even if you are utilizing Whole30 compliant ingredients. No pizza crust from cauliflower, muffins, or other foods that are savory, so you get the full flavor of foods in their pure form.

But you can eat this:

  • Vegetables - Consume all the vegetables that you want, including potatoes.
  • Fruit - Eat in moderation to minimize sugar intake.
  • Fish - Including shellfish.
  • Eggs - Eat them however whenever you'd like.
  • Unprocessed meat - Including sausage, but check for added sugar.
  • Nuts and seeds - Except peanuts because they are legumes.
  • Oil - Olive, vegetable, coconut, even ghee are all allowed, but no butter.
  • Coffee - This is allowed, but only use almond milk for added taste and no sugar.

Whole30 is about eliminating foods that aren't serving you while incorporating whole, natural foods that are full of deliciousness, without any allergy- causing ingredients. If you are experiencing any adverse reactions to any foods and you can't quite pinpoint why, perhaps the Whole30 plan is for you. Keep in mind that whole food is medicine and the more healthful things you incorporate, the better to help you live your best and fit your body's unique needs.

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