If you are reading this, chances are you already live a gluten-free life. In that case, you might be wondering why you should do a Whole30 diet?
The Whole30 eliminates added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, MSG, baked good and junk foods from the diet for 30 days. Click here for the full program rules. By removing the food groups that often cause inflammation in the body you’ll most likely experience some of what Whole30 refers to as “non-scale victories.” These may include renewed energy, healthy skin, reduced bloating and joint pain, improved digestion, quality sleep and mental clarity. Who doesn’t want those things, right? In addition to omitting gluten, (lookie there, you’re already ahead of the curve) you’re also removing other inflammatory food groups for 30 days.
Even though saying “It will change your life” may sound gimmicky, it’s not and it will. The complete rules and necessary resources are available online for free (though there are several books available for purchase that are helpful). You don’t have to buy weird food or commit to anything other than 30 days of investing time and energy to eat real, whole, quality food and sticking to the rules.
The program is designed to overhaul your relationship to food and strengthen the line of communication between your body and your brain, all with a host of awesome benefits. The scale must be put away for 30 days while you learn to listen to your body and evaluate how you feel without letting the numbers tip the scales. Why? Because weight loss doesn’t equal health gain. This health journey is digging deep, another reason why it’s not a “diet,” but a life changing program. That being said, always check with your healthcare provider before beginning any new diet or lifestyle program.
Your relationship to food is one that you’ve fostered over your whole life, and it’s pretty hardwired as part of how you identify yourself. Maybe you weigh yourself each morning, eat chocolate when you’re sad, drink your coffee light and sweet and eat sushi when you celebrate– because these are parts of what make you whole. On the flip side, maybe you also have a bad day when the scale reports a higher number, get weekly headaches, bloat after sushi and have joint pain. C’est la vie? Maybe, or maybe it doesn’t have to be. In the grand scheme of your lifetime, 30 days is a drop in the bucket and doing the work here may prevent you from kicking one too soon.
By following the program with the gradual reintroduction of these foods, you can find out specific things that are contributing to those headaches, bloating, joint pain, digestive irregularity or (enter mystery symptom here).
These symptoms are examples of ways that your body communicates with you. Sometimes we are just busy, dense and don’t make the correlation between cause and effect. For example, even though sushi and tamari are gluten free, soy (legume) or rice (grain) may be causing bloat. The Whole30 and the reintroduction period are designed to help you isolate and pinpoint those system agitators.
As hard as it is to fathom, you can rewrite the way you relate to food and this one shift can change the course of the rest of your years. Sure, eating healthier will make you healthier – and that’s one way it will change your life.
Upon completing your Whole30, you’ll likely feel empowered. You did something hard, you feel good about it, and it looks good on you. Who knows how it may change the course of your life, but it will definitely change your relationship to food and your body. With “self-care” being a concept thrown around for everything from bubble baths to face masks, this would be the ultimate gift to care for yourself in 2019.
To learn more about the Whole30 Program, visit whole30.com.
Stephanie Vanlochem is a Whole30 Certified Coach and owner of nutritional therapy practice, Cook by Color Nutrition. You can find her on Instagram @cookbycolor, or online at www.cookbycolornutrition.com.