As we say at Fit Farm, it takes 30 days to create a habit. Whole30, created by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig in 2009, also follows this basic premise that you can change your eating habits in just 30 days. What is basically a reboot for your body, Whole30 encourages nothing but clean, wholesome eating for a full 30 days. In that 30 days, you are retraining your brain to not crave sugars and fats, while your digestive track gets a much needed break from digesting bad-for-you foods. And the rules are quite simple: no cheating, and if you do, you reset to Day 1.
Do certain foods cause you irritation? Do you notice your hands swell or you feel exceptionally bloated a few hours after a meal? Ingredients like sugar, grains, and dairy can be bothersome to certain people’s bodies and cause inflammation. All those ingredients on the label that you cannot pronounce wreak havoc on your digestive system. Plus, processed foods lack nutritional value, which can zap you of energy, and leave you not looking or feeling your very best. After all, food is fuel and processed foods don’t fuel you, they provide short-term high and lasting unhealthy effects for your body. So, for those of us in need of a mental reboot, Whole30 has the potential to reset your pace and reshape your relationship with food. Let’s discuss how it works.
How it works
Whole30 is not about deprivation and calorie cutting, it’s about total and complete healthfulness. This program revolves around educating consumers about the foods they eat and guiding them to make healthier choices. What does this look like? Only consuming natural and whole foods with minimal ingredients and processing. While you don’t have to count calories, you do have to read labels. Shop primarily from the outside of the store and, if you have to, only choose foods from the inside aisles with minimal ingredients that you can pronounce. Sounds pretty simple, right? The hard part comes in the execution. Unlike clean eating, which is generally more lax about your food intake and merely encourages healthier choices, Whole30 requires steadfast dedication for 30 whole days, 24/7. One single cheat on the program will reset you to square one. But, here’s why—it takes 30 uninterrupted days to reset your brain, which is trained to desire unhealthy foods. Bad habits can be difficult to break, but this program can fast-track it as long as you stick to it. Check out these Whole30 friendly foods to get an idea of what your menu will look like.
The big payoff
People rave about this program and how it offers quick wins, not only when it comes to looking good, but also how the program makes them feel. The most well-reported benefit of the Whole30 is a major uptick in energy. It’s amazing the amount of energy nutritious foods will give you. It seems like a no-brainer, but as we discussed, your brain is trained over time to crave unhealthy foods and to activate the reward center when you consume them. It is only by breaking this cycle that you can start to crave what is actually good for you and temper your emotional responses to cravings. Participants have also reported better sleep, healthier skin and nails, and improvement to symptoms of common health ailments. Completing the Whole30 can also improve your mental clarity and emotional disposition. A clean diet promotes better insulin management and steadier hormone levels—the active ingredients for optimal mental health. As for mental health, there have been recent studies connecting gut health to a lift in depression symptoms, as well as your mental outlook overall. The list of benefits continues over at the Whole30 website through testimonials of people who experienced major improvements and even alleviation of several diseases and conditions like high cholesterol and blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and a variety of gut-related diseases. Although results will vary from person to person, everyone that completes the Whole30 walks away proud that they completed it. Many people even choose to do it over and over again as a way to cleanse themselves from a particularly bad spell with unhealthy foods, like the holidays.
Have you tried Whole30? We would love to hear about your results, so drop us a comment.