Whole30 – A Skeptic’s Experiment

Ray Beam Nutrition 25 Comments

I’m going to be honest with you here: I’ve had an anti-Whole 30 post in my drafts since before the launch of this blog. As you know, I’m a firm believer in flexible dieting, moderation, and am wholly (get it?) anti-fad diet.

However, I have been hesitant to post my piece for one big reason. I have never tried it and it doesn’t feel right to post a review without trying it first. So, as of May 15th, 2018, I have been giving a full, honest effort to trying Whole30.

So what have my meals looked like so far?

Day 1:

Breakfast – Mashed Avocado with baked sweet potatoes and Trader Joe’s everything seasoning.

Lunch – 3 Eggs, hard boiled, with a Blueberry Rx Bar

Dinner – One turkey burger patty with Avocado and a banana.

Snacks – 2 Granny Smith Apples with almond butter. 4 oz of sliced turkey.

Day 2:

Breakfast – 3 hard boiled eggs, 1 banana, almond butter

Lunch – Whole30 Buffalo chicken with oven roasted sweet potatoes.

Dinner – Trader joes’ turkey burger patty and a banana

Snacks – Blueberry Rx Bar, 2 Apples

Day 3:

Breakfast – Trader Joe’s Sirloin Roast & 3 scrambled eggs.

Lunch – Cherry Pie Lara Bar, Banana with Almond Butter, 2 Apples

Dinner – Whole30 Buffalo Chicken with Avocado

Snacks – Cherry Pie Lara Bar

Day 4:

Breakfast – Roasted sweet potatoes with two fried eggs and mashed avocado.

Lunch – Whole30 Buffalo Chicken with Rainbow cauliflower.

Dinner – Trader Joe’s Turkey Burger & Cherry Pie Lara Bar

Snacks – Banana with Almond Butter

I’m pretty sure you can see the pattern here! I am running off a single Trader Joe’s run, hastily made after a 7 hour flight back from Ireland. I’m hoping to do some genuine meal prep this weekend.

Why Try Whole30 Now?

Well, a few reasons. I’ve successfully lost 55 lbs, and started developing healthier eating habits. I am, however, still a picky eater. It is not my instinct to grab a piece of fruit when I’m hungry and tend to grab a protein bar instead. I struggle to work vegetables into my diet and tend to get my nutrients from vitamins.

I feel like a half-assed adult.

Also, I just finished up my trip to Ireland and have definitely had more than enough sugar and alcohol for the next several months. My newfound love of Teeling Whiskey is strong. (And I’m a rum person!)

So, it seems like a good time to focus on homemade, unprocessed food for a little while. Still, reading through Whole30’s website, I am not without reservations or criticisms of the program.

My Main Issues with Whole30

Whole30 is essentially an elimination diet, removing dairy, grains, alcohol, sweeteners, and certain additives to food. While there can be valuable information to be gained, a good deal of it appears to be based on pseudoscience. Many of the eliminated foods are staples around the world and throughout human history. I do not have celiac disease, so there really is no need for someone like me to cut out gluten. And while, like many other Ashkenazi Jews, I am lactose intolerant, the real harm seems to be to the noses of people around me after I eat ice cream. Sorry! Other pseudoscience on the site claims it can help cure Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis along with myriad other illnesses. I cannot speak to the entire list, but Whole30 is a high-fiber diet. That could be potentially dangerous for people with those conditions. Then there is this beautiful anti-cheating gem:

Just a small amount of any of these inflammatory foods could break the healing cycle; promoting cravings, messing with blood sugar, disrupting the integrity of your digestive tract, and (most important) firing up the immune system. One bite of pizza, one spoonful of ice cream, one lick of the spoon mixing the batter within the 30-day period and you’ve broken the “reset” button, requiring you to start over again on Day 1.

Last time I checked, my body did not have a reset button. They certainly use a lot of sciencey-sounding buzz words but lack a fundamental knowledge of human biology.The attitude from the creators of Whole30 frustrate me as well. In fact, the patronizing attitude almost turned me away from this experiment.

Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written.

WOW.This is the attitude I hate. This is the attitude that stops so many healthy journeys as newbies take their first wobbling step. In a truly healthy lifestyle, there needs to be wiggle room. We are all human and we all make mistakes. I have enough footing on my journey now to give this a shot, but I would never recommend a program like this to someone just starting.

What I Anticipate from Whole30

Well, I certainly do not expect it to change my life. Meaningful lifestyle changes happen one step at a time, not by cutting out half the food pyramid in one go.

However, I do hope to quickly de-bloat from vacation. I am also curious to see how my digestive system feels during the process.

Mostly, I hope to learn some new recipes that get me eating more fruit and veg on the regular. I have some concerns about getting enough protein and how I’m going to fuel myself at Tuxedo Spartan Sprint on the 2nd. (Can I bring fruit juice on the course???)

Make sure you sign up for the newsletter to follow my Whole30 experiment. Also let me know in the comments what are your favorite Whole30 recipes!

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Comments 25

  1. I saw some of my friends were doing Whole30 and was curious what it was, however, I didn’t want to be “That girl.” who asked obvious questions. This has cleared it up for me! I believe healthier foods, healthier me but I always have trouble sticking o those healthy diets because I can never figure out what to eat. I love how this gives you a whole list and point out the healthier choices.

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      It’s definitely hard. But this weekend I’m getting the chance to experiment with food and not eat the same thing all over again.

  2. Your diet menu is much more systematic than the other ones I’ve found so far. It seems pretty practical as well. I’ll try to follow your tips!

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  3. An interesting diet for sure! Not sure if it’s something I would be able to do. I am lactose intolerant as well but I also have issues with food high in fiber. I do need to eat cleaner though. I eat a lot of processed food.

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  4. Ok, based on what you described, I am a half-assed adult as well! I haven’t tried whole30 for most of the reasons you listed as well. I am not glucose-intolerant or lactose-intolerant so I don’t understand cutting all of that out either.

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  5. Good on ya for trying it out! I find any elimination diet challenging as I know I’ll end up re-introducing it again at some point. But, it doesn’t hurt to give it a go!

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  6. I’ve heard of this before but never really knew what it was all about. I like how you take a critical look at everything an explain your process and the results you saw.

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  7. I will definitely be curious as to how your journey goes. I am with you that I prefer the more flexible plans when it comes to eating. I understand not wanting to criticize before trying it out yourself though. But I will have to check how things go with you before I try it.

  8. I have been hearing a lot about while 30 lately and am curious about it. I can’t wait to read more about the whole 30 days and what you think at the end.

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