Healthy mind and body are my priorities, but sometimes it feels like one can get sacrificed for the other. Enter Whole30: the idea is to eat whole foods and avoid the eating that can make you unhealthy, body AND mind. Or, in their words, improve your “relationship with food.”
I’ve mostly avoided sugar for 4 weeks (exceptions being one restaurant meal and a few servings of dairy) and I wouldn’t say my life has changed, but my cravings are definitely more manageable, I haven’t had a breakout the whole time, and I haven’t had a migraine in that time either (just the regular constant headache). So I’m kinda already on the bandwagon, but the Whole30 deal is no compromises for 30 days straight, meaning no experimenting with dairy and no nightly ounce of dark chocolate until AFTER the 30 days. It’s like a reset button that allows you to tell the difference when you try adding foods like dairy and chocolate back in.
One thing the authors concede in It Starts With Food is that there’s still a lot the scientific community doesn’t know about food so there’s a lot of contradicting “evidence” out there. That’s why they balance science with clinical experience, adding in self-experimentation to the program. I’m going to focus more on the practical direction here, but a lot of reason behind Whole30 are well explained in It Starts With Food. The gist IMHO: food that is designed to stimulate pleasure centres with huge hits of sweetness, fat, and salt, meanwhile void of nutrition, is a recipe for overeating and undernutrition. And the more we make eating this food a habit, particularly in response to emotions, the harder it is to overcome. Gut and hormone imbalance makes it even harder.
So what are considered healthy foods? Meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats like avocado, macadamia nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, olive oil, coconut oil/meat/milk, and ghee. Walnuts and pumpkin seeds should actually be limited because of their polyunsaturated fats.
A note about fruits: they are nutritious, but not as nutritious as vegetables and their fructose (sugar) is sent straight to the liver like alcohol and contributes to metabolic syndrome – so keep fruit to a few (~2) servings per day. Great fruit choices are berries and plums. Also beware the sweetness of fruit may trigger an unhealthy psychological response for people still struggling with sugar addiction. Replacing candy with fruit won’t help you break free from that unhelpful habit.