Established in 2009, the Whole30 Diet is essential a more strict version of the paleo diet. No dairy, grains, legumes or added sugar of any kind, with a focus instead on whole foods like meat, fruit, seafood, vegetables, oils, nuts and seeds. Sounds alright, depending on how much you like meat and vegetables and how willing you are to give up sugar, but does it work?
What exactly is the Whole30 Diet?
If you’ve heard of the paleo diet, then you’ve got the foundation of the Whole30. Paleo diet pioneer Robb Wolf actually suggests trying paleo for 30 days before committing, to see whether it’s right for you, and that’s essentially the entire deal with Whole30. Cut out the things mentioned in the Whole30 Rules for 30 days, and if you feel better*, keep doing it.
*What constitutes feeling better is subjective. Weight management, skin problems, sexual health problems, all things proponents of the Whole30 say can be addressed with the diet.
Things the Whole30 may help with:
- Skin problems
- Digestive issues
- Weight loss
Inflammation is probably the main culprit there, the one which actually contributes the most to all of the other problems, such as weight gain and lack of energy. What causes the majority of inflammation, according to Whole30 (and we tend to agree on this point) is a poor diet, high in processed foods (namely sugary ones). Excessive consumption of sugar can lead to inflammation in your body, which can cause pain and discomfort, as well as long-term damage.
What’s ok in the Whole30 diet?
According to Whole30, if it has an ingredients list, don’t eat it. You’re looking for:
- Meat and seafood
- Fruit and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
FYI, peanuts count as legumes and are not allowed in the Whole30 diet.
What’s not ok in the Whole30 diet?
Sugar is out, as are grains and grain products including bread and pasta. These, according to both Whole30 and Wolf, are the main causes of inflammation and general dietary woe. One way in which the Whole30 goes a step further than paleo, is that it actually cuts out sugar alternatives, too, including agave nectar, coconut sugar, maple syrup and honey. So, bummer if you thought they were still in.
- Sugar (in all forms)
- Dairy (including yoghurt)
- Grains and legumes (including peanuts)
- “Approved” ingredient alternatives (e.g. hemp pancakes).
So, as you can see, the Whole30 is a lot like the paleo diet, only a couple of steps stricter. Sad times if you’re into pancakes, but great if you’re truly committed.