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Have You Heard of the Whole30 Program?

There are a wide range of symptoms associated with allergies and food intolerances, and it can sometimes be tricky to pinpoint which food or foods are potentially causing imbalance.  Whole30 is an elimination diet that is designed to restrict certain foods for a full 30 days, with the goal of identifying foods that are a root cause of inflammation or imbalance.  

It is important to emphasize that no elimination diet is meant to be a long-term, lifestyle choice.  The idea is that once problem foods are identified, you remove them from your diet while incorporating back in those which were not problem foods.  The ultimate goal is to feel better physically and mentally by gaining self-awareness and understanding your unique dietary needs. 

What Does the Whole30 Diet Entail?

The Whole30 diet is a whole foods-based eating plan which was created by certified sports nutritionists Melissa Urban and Dallas Hartwig.  Certain foods, which are scientifically and clinically regarded as commonly problematic, are eliminated for 30 days as one tracks their body’s reaction and symptoms to see any improvements.  At the end of the 30 days, these foods are then introduced one at a time and you pay attention to how you feel physically and psychologically, noting if a certain food or food group causes any symptoms.  

The Whole30 diet does not incorporate exercise, portion control, or calorie counting like many traditional diets.  Rather, Whole30 is a nutrition program in which one eats certain foods and avoids others.  While it is not designed as a weight loss program, it is not uncommon for people to lose a few pounds while doing the Whole30 diet, simply as a result of eating more whole foods and cutting out processed ones. 

What Foods Do You Eat?

The Whole30 diet, just as the name implies, puts an emphasis on eating whole foods for a total of 30 days in the initial part of the program.

The following foods are included in a Whole30 diet:
-All vegetables
-Unprocessed Meats
-Nuts and seeds
-Black coffee
-Olive oil and coconut oil

What Foods Do You Eliminate?

The Whole30 diet eliminates sugars and processed foods for 30 days.  

The following foods are eliminated in a Whole30 diet:

-Added sugars
-Processed additives (carrageenan, MSG, sulfates)
-French fries and potato chips

How Do You Track Symptoms?

Keeping a food journal is the best way to track food symptoms.  In order to be successful with this practice, you will want to find a way to incorporate filling it out into your daily routine.  If you already use a planner, it can easily be incorporated into that, or you can purchase a small journal which is easy to carry around with you.  In the food journal, you will record the time and contents of what you eat, and then note any symptoms that arise. 

When doing the Whole30 diet is it essential to stick to it for a full 30 days.  If you slip and eat a food that is meant to be eliminated, you need to start back at day one to successfully complete the program.  

Reintroduction of Eliminated Foods

Reintroduction is a key aspect of the Whole30 and should not be skipped.  Paying attention to how you feel physically and psychologically as foods are reintroduced will key you in on how specific foods impact your health and wellbeing.  Reintroduction should take between 10 and 30 days.  It is vital to introduce food groups one at a time, while keeping the rest of your diet Whole30, so that you can properly identify how each food or food group impacts you.  Between each food reintroduction, you go back to eating Whole30 for two days in order to allow any symptoms that arose to settle down before reintroducing the next previously eliminated food. 

Set Yourself Up for Success 

As with any diet, discipline and planning is needed to successfully embark on and complete the Whole30 diet.  It can be helpful to create a grocery list and plan meals ahead of time.  Some people also find it beneficial to work with a healthcare provider or connect with other people who are also doing the Whole30.  For more information and tips on how to successfully complete the Whole30 program, check out their website

Creating A Nourishing Lifestyle

Once all foods have been reintroduced one at a time, it’s time to incorporate what you have learned into your lifestyle.  In general, it is recommended to avoid trigger foods while incorporating a wide variety of foods in your diet.  The goal is for your new diet to feel nourishing and not restricting. 

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