health and wellness

What This Dietitian Thinks About The Whole30

 
Is Whole30 healthy?
 

SUMMER IS HERE!

As days are getting warmer, people seem determined to shed a few pounds and feel their best in their tank tops, shorts, & bathing suits, & this summer it seems as though the Whole30 is the way to do it. As the Whole30 seems to be the talk of the town, I wanted to share my two cents.


If you haven't heard of The Whole30, it's a strict 30-day elimination diet, prohibiting dairy, legumes, grains, alcohol, & sugar (referred to some as 'paleo on crack'). The creators promise to solve your skin & digestive issues, allergies & chronic pain, improve your eating habits & relationship with food and 'magically' eliminate a variety of symptoms, diseases, & conditions - including, but not limited to: diabetes, Lyme disease, celiac, Crohn's, depression, eating disorders, infertility, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, & more! WOW! Sounds impressive, doesn't it?


To me, the diet is a bit ridiculous & extreme. 

Many Whole30 dieters do report feeling better over the course of their 30 days. However, when you limit things like alcohol, sugars, & processed foods, this is typically what happens. I do think there are other ways to feel better without such an intense, restrictive program.

 

One of my main issues with the Whole30 is the restrictive, fear-mongering nature. See below...

  • This is not hard. 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. 

  • Don’t even consider the possibility of a “slip.” Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a pizza, there is no “slip.” You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident.

They actually published these things!


While, they claim it's not a diet, it very much is. You can see on their site the list of 'rules' that must be followed and lists of approved and prohibited foods and ingredients.

The restrictive nature of diets can cause people to just want something more. If they 'slip' and have a prohibited food it usually comes with guilt and shame - two emotions that should not be associated with food.

As you know, I don't believe in restrictive eating patterns unless medically necessary. They say they encourage a healthy relationship with food but with such harsh words and strict rules I find that hard to believe. 
 


The Whole30 diet also encourages followers not to weigh or measure themselves throughout the 30-days. This, I'm okay with! I think it takes the focus off of weight and emphasizes the way you feel.

They also discourage tracking your intake over the 30 day course. This, I don't think is necessary. There are huge benefits to tracking your intake, including making you more aware of your habits surrounding food. I encourage my clients to track their intake before our first session to help us both get a better picture of their current habits and daily intake. Many of my clients even enjoy doing so.


By eliminating so many foods and food groups and gradually adding them back in, some Whole30 followers report that they've been able to self-diagnose food intolerances after following the Whole30. This is great, however, it is usually best to consult your MD, ND, or RD before self-diagnosing.


And finally, many of the studies cited in The Whole30 have been misinterpreted and provide inaccurate claims.  Check out this site for chapter-by-chapter reviews of the scientific claims made in The Whole30.

You can read more reviews here, here, & here!

5 Things I'm Loving Right Now

favorite foods
 

1. Cream of the West Roasted Wheat Hot Cereal

I recently bought Cream of the West on a whim, not knowing what to expect. The front of the box just says Roasted Wheat, so I wasn't really sure what I was getting into. Maybe I'm behind on this cool, mushy, delicious, whole grain, hot cereal, idk, but I love it. I love the earthy flavor and the soft texture. It's loaded with fiber and is the perfect comfort food for any meal. I've made it sweet with berries, peanut butter, and nuts and savory with spinach, spices, and eggs. If you haven't already- it's a must try.

 

2. Harvest Snaps

Seriously love these guys. I've been eating them straight out of the bag but they'd also be good in recipes - croutons on salad or mash them up for breadcrumbs.

Although they're still chips - they're lower in sodium, saturated fat, and calories and are higher in protein and fiber than classic potato chips. They're a 'healthier' alternative. The Lightly Salted and Caesar are my faves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Unsweetened (naturally sweet) Banana Chips

I've been loving these in homemade trail mix or with a handful of almonds for an easy snack on the go. They're also perfect to satisfy my sweet tooth after lunch. Instead of going for my secret stash of chocolate, I'm perfectly satisfied with a few naturally sweet banana chips.

I've been buying them in the bulk section but you can buy them in packages too. Be sure to read the labels, they should just be dried bananas- there's no need for added oil or sugar!

 

 

 

 

4. Homemade Granola

Lately, I've been using various recipes as guides to make my own but I hope to come up with my own recipe to share with you at some point. Making granola sounds like a daunting task but is surprisingly simple. You can add whatever nuts, fruits, grains, and spices you like with just a touch of sweetness and have a whole batch in no more than 30 minutes. I've been loving it with yogurt, on top of smoothies, and by the handful.

 

5. Care/of Supplement Subscription

Although I'm by no means a supplement pusher and believe most of us can meet our nutritional needs through a balanced diet, I have to admit, this one's pretty cool. I recently came across it and had to give it a try. The company is created by doctors at Tufts and Harvard Health. You complete a quick survey and they make customized supplement recommendations. You then get a package with individually wrapped packages with your daily supplements for the month. A few of the herbs recommended for me I had never heard of, but I checked in with a few holistic practitioners I know- who gave me two thumbs up. I do trust both the science and the quality of this product and think it's a super cool idea.

 

5 Foods I'm LOVING Right Now

1. Kombucha

To be completely honest I never really liked kombucha. I would try it on occasion because it was trendy and cool and probiotics and such, but it was always too sweet for me. Recently, a fellow RD suggested we meet and chat over a glass of kombucha at our local kombucha bar, Dean's Zesty Booch. If you live in Bozeman and have not been to Dean's bar- what are you waiting for?! Seriously. It's so good. In a town that's so saturated with breweries, what an amazing idea to have a bar that serves healthier beverages. I love it.

Like I said, I'd never really been a fan, but now I'm hooked. I'm also loving Healthade, its not too sweet, not too sour, and good for your gut! Their motto is Follow Your Gut, which I love! Healthade is available at most grocery stores, but you can double check here (keep an eye out at your local stores- my store isn't listed in their directory). 

2. Hemp Seeds

Seriously loving these too. Mostly on the usual smoothies, oatmeal, & yogurt, but also on salads, mixed dinner bowls, veggie sides, pizzas- can't go wrong.

Hemp seeds are another trendy seed, but I didn't actually try them until I went to FNCE (Food & Nutrition Conference & Exp0) last fall. These little guys are a great source of energy and are PACKED with nutrients - they're HIGH in protein, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and B vitamins. 

3. Buckwheat

Buckwheat has a wonderfully earthy, nutty flavor. I made some homemade granola back in December to give as Christmas gifts, luckily I made enough for myself to last awhile too. It adds an amazing nutty crunch to homemade granola. You could also toast it in the oven and add it to your favorite store bought granola.

I've also had it as a breakfast porridge - its a little mushier and creamier than oatmeal but goes great with all the same toppings, plus it has that yummy nutty taste.

4. siggi's protein bites

I made these a few weeks back and have been keeping them in my freezer ever since. I've been loving them for a quick snack to grab on the go. I'm the kind of person that gets hungry every few hours so it's important to keep healthy snacks on hand (this usually prevents me from eating peanut butter by the spoonful - although nothing wrong with that). Loaded with protein (nuts, seeds, & skyr), these bites are super filling and have just the right amount of sweetness. You can find the recipe here.

5. Tempeh

Similar to tofu but more of a nutty and rough texture. I highly recommend it baked or sauteed for your plant based meals. I don't eat much meat with for the purpose of incorporating more veggies into my diet as well as the 1,000s of health benefits associated with a plant-based diet. I'm a flexitarian mainly because I don't believe in restrictions, I occasionally crave a quality burger, and most people in my life eat a very meat-centric diet. Anyways, tempeh is awesome and a great source of protein, calcium, iron, and more for those of us that primarily eat plants. I just made this recipe from Nutrition Stripped. Give it a try!

 

What foods are you loving right now?

 

 

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on the Amazon links, I do receive a small percentage of the sale. I link to products products I truly support and recommend.