Gringa Chef’s review on Whole30
Whole30 is jarring … no alcohol. Well, about 90% of you gave up right there! No processed foods, there goes the rest. No sugar, no legumes, no grains, no corn. And to top it off, no dairy. Well that just takes the cake, cheese and fun right out of life. Not so fast. From my dietitian days, this diet immediately sounded familiar. It is an “elimination diet” – taking out everything that could potentially be allergic reactions. I personally completed the Whole30 diet as part of my yoga studio’s “40 Days to Personal Revolution”. Clinically, it is difficult to get clients to follow; but it is still the only real nutrition treatment for toxic foods. The creators of Whole30 are also registered dietitians and made the elimination diet sexy. I even pulled out my textbooks to show you why
Typical American Diet
The American diet has drifted farther away from food. Many have forgotten that food mostly comes from the earth. So now, the average american consumes more that 50% of their vegetable intake from Iceberg lettuce, french fries, potatoes, potato chips and canned tomatoes including ketchup. Yes, three of those items are potatoes! Top “fruit” items are orange juice and bananas. Added sugar has tripled in American diet. Cheese takes up 40% of American dairy intake.
There are labs spending millions of dollars researching what combination of chemicals to add to your chips, yogurt and health foods. This is all to make you buy their brand and eat more. Billions of dollars in advertising are spent to convince you processed crap is delicious, and good for you and your kids. Check out the other carts at checkout in the grocery store. Do you see carts filled with boxes and containers? Do you see boxes of processed foods labeled “health foods”?
Food allergies can cause your skin to turn red, or hive out in the extreme cases. Food allergies can appear as something as minor as fatigue or behavior change. By eating food you have a response to you are setting off an inflammatory response. It does in your body what it sounds like – inFLAME! At one time I was so used to being tired all the time. I did not even consider that the “healthy” foods I was eating might be causing the problem. Whole30 looks to remove common causes of food allergens so that your gut can repair itself and work properly. Lots of biochem classes, anatomy and physiology made me appreciate the digestive tract we have inside our bodies. You take that for granted, don’t you!
Love Your Belly
Your intestinal tract is the largest organ in your body, spread out it could cover a tennis court! It’s the number one producer of immune cells to keep you healthy, and a major producer of hormones. When you are born your body has a “blank gut”. As you grow you acquire your own personal biome from the foods you eat starting with your mother’s milk. Your intestines are like a coral reef with a complex mix of bacteria and living things.
Sugar and Starch -legumes, wheat(Gluten), cake, pasta, bread, rice, oats.
Feeding your body sugar and starches can cause this bacteria to grow out of control and cause bloating, gas, diarrhea and more serious health issues over time. In addition to over eating these items your enzymes and digestive tract can only handle so much at a time. With excess food just sitting there, you can imagine why you feel sluggish and foggy.
I hate to break your milk mustache loving upbringing but 75% of the world’s population is lactose deficient. Meaning your gut does not break down milk into digestible molecules so you can use them as energy. I know it hurts those millions of dollars in advertising campaigns we saw as kids with the famous people at their milk mustache. You are probably thinking, what about strong bones? Broccoli is probably a better bet for sources of calcium and magnesium the building blocks for bones without the animal fat and broccoli has antioxidants.
This is rough for me. NIH defined binge drinking as 4 drinks (5 for men) in 2 hours. The liver has to process all those margaritas. But your liver also has to make everything you need to digest fat and tons of other things. If your liver is doing overtime on your booze, how can it work on anything else? Whole 30 has you cut out alcohol completely for 30 days – to get your liver processing the right way.
Whole30 recommended, if your budget allows – free range, organic meats. If you have a friend that hunts or fishes, make them your best friend! What I’ll call “regular meats” have HUGE amounts of chemicals, antibiotics, added water and salt.
So what can you eat? My transition to whole30 life
I had to throw away my “cereal and milk” breakfast. I replaced it with an even easier and more satisfying breakfast of apple or banana, with almond butter (made from only almonds) My typical lunch deli meat sandwich turned into an amazing leftover grilled organic chicken from the night before, with every veggie in my fridge. I skipped the bottled salad dressing with fresh lime and cracked pepper. My dinner challenged me to to be creative ordering in restaurants. I made a game of following Whole30. Removing cheese from items. Replacing commercial meats for avocado. Time saved not drinking alcohol most nights and weekends, became time to prep food and go shopping.
Hitting the Wall
After the first 6 days the detox from the chemicals and alcohol in my body made me feel sick. I felt like I had a cold. Doing yoga allowed my sinuses to open in a way I felt like I had never breathed before. It was like I had a third nostril. It was extremely hard to pass on dessert and rice…awe I love rice. I was starting to feel good and skipping foods I knew could set off the inflammation became unappealing.
About the 3rd week, my concentration was like a fighter pilot. I had energy all day and even was doing yoga daily at 5:30 AM and then going for walks in the evenings with no fatigue. I began to see what a trap I had fallen into having my life controlled by alcohol and sugar. Tiger blood is the feeling you get when your gut is working properly, your skin is radiating, and people start to notice you are different. The best part was that food started tasting amazing! I can remember cutting a cantaloupe open and just slurping the juice up like it was from heaven. I am so satisfied with the veggies, fruit, nuts and meats that I can sense when i’m full. If I get hungry I eat. No counting calories or worrying about portion control. I’ll stop when I’m full and feel full of energy my belly is breaking down the food to usable fuel. Grocery shopping became so simple – hit up the freshest produce and organic meats. I found that I could afford organic because I was not buying the chocolate, chips, milk, cheese (and alcohol) that are actually more expensive.
Traveling to Latin America
Taking a step back, I want to share with you the culture shock I experienced traveling to Central and South America – what we in America call Latin American countries. Let’s be real about this. A majority of people in “third world countries” are living off the land and what that provides. I was amazed at the taste of the meat, and the difference in the flavor of the vegetables. Picked when ripe and no preservatives added. Fresh fruits sold on street corners. In many markets what is considered processed is still hand made tortillas, fresh squeezed juice. As these countries “modernize” and import US culture, that often means packaged high sugar is creeping in. The high fat, sugar and salt diet increases the incidence of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. These are the most expensive to treat, and deadly besides. In my own experience, I was able to eat wholeheartedly on my two week trip to Colombia, yet actually lose weight, decrease bloating, and came home with my skin radiating. How could this be? I just told you – Whole30 reduction of allergens and inflammatory response. I encourage you to look deeper and check out Whole30.
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Diet, Nutrition and food therapy:Krause 2002