What is this “Whole30” thing?

Friday, July 14, 2017

I don’t know about you but more and more of my friends have been talking about the “Whole30.” When it started showing up on my Facebook feed I thought it was time to find out what this conversation is all about. The first thing I learned is that people call it a variety of terms like “program”, “lifestyle” and “diet.” Here is the definition on the Whole30 website:

The Whole30 is a 30-day diet that emphasizes whole foods and during which participants eliminate sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy from their diets.

It is a way of eating that was co-created by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig. A really healthy way of eating. It takes us back to whole foods, hence the “whole” in Whole30. What I find most interesting about this diet is that, unlike any other diet I have seen, it eliminates grains and legumes. I totally get removing highly processed and highly refined foods from our diets but I have not seen a diet that eliminates whole grains and legumes. Admittedly they are made up of carbohydrates too but unlike refined sugars that are simple carbohydrates, grains and legumes are complex carbohydrates so they take more energy to break down giving us longer lasting energy.

In researching Whole30 I found there is much controversy about this program. There are those that condemn the diet as being restrictive and misleading regarding whole grains and legumes. Then there are those who wholeheartedly support the diet emphasizing that grains and legumes are hard to digest and therefore too hard on our bodies to eat. From my point of view I do not see the harm in eliminating grains and legumes for 30 days, particularly with the goal of rerouting the brain to not be triggered by too many sugars/carbohydrates in our bodies, which has now become an addiction. On the other hand vilifying grains and legumes doesn’t make sense to me. They are a healthy source of carbohydrates and provide much needed vitamins and minerals not always found in other food. It is not logical to me to lump these in along with the gluten free issue. In what I read it seems people are confusing the two or at least combining them. They are not at all the same and the conversation needs to separate them.

What is wonderful about this diet is that it is all about eating fresh, whole foods low in carbohydrates. In looking over the menus and recipes provided by FREE downloads made available through Whole30, they also combine interesting ingredients and spices so the meals are tasty and visually appealing. Livliga believes strongly that it is important to have delicious foods served in an attractive manner to make meals filling and fully satisfying. Unlike this diet, however, we do believe you should always be mindful of the amounts you are eating.

When you look at other sources for recipe inspiration it is actually easy to find Whole30 compliant ones. I went through many of my recipes on my blog and found many of my own recipes that where already Whole30 easy. The main thing to remember is to eliminate legumes, grains and soy but also anything with peanuts or dairy. Rule exceptions include eggs, clarified butter, which are considered in the dairy category, as well as Green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas, that would normally be considered legumes. It is easy to substitute with Whole30 approved foods in just about any recipe you like so it is not as limiting as you might think.

From my admittedly focused view as someone well aware of the triggers and addictive nature of carbs…this program is really all about the limiting of carb intake. I see this as a good thing. In the culture and times we live in, we need all the help we can get to restructure our diet and overcome our sugar addiction.

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